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Property prices – who’s to blame?

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By Michael O’Connor

There are multiple theories as to why house prices continue to reach unfathomable heights.

One that gets a lot of airtime is the role of private equity firms in the market. The generally accepted narrative is that these funds come in, buy up all the available property supply and leave nothing for the rest of us. In reality, this effect is somewhat exaggerated.

It's always a crowd-pleaser when you blame surging housing prices on the big bad investment banks. After all, who doesn’t love to rally behind a ‘Vultures Out’ campaign. As much as I would love to burden them with most of the blame, the stats simply don’t back it up.

The share of total home sales that come from investor purchases has actually been in decline. In 2020, estimates showed that investors make up about 20 percent of housing sales.

Bear in mind that number is not just the share of institutional investors but anyone who isn’t just buying a house as their primary residence.

This 20% includes people purchasing second homes, vacation rentals, individual investment properties, and small investors flipping homes for profit.

In the US since 2011, the cumulative acquisitions from institutional investors has approached 400,000 single-family homes. This may seem like a lot, but with 83 million homes in the US, this represents less than half a percent of the market.

If we narrow our focus solely to the 16 million homes on the rental market, institutionally backed firms only own 2.5% of the market.

In reality, large investors make up just one to two percent of all single-family purchases, while other investors make up 18 to 19 percent.

The numbers show that most rentals are owned by small investors; your neighbours and friends.

To be clear, I agree that levies should be in place to prohibit bulk buying of properties, but simply using private equity firms as the scapegoat ignores the crux of the problem.

As masters of the dark arts of deflection, politicians are quick to point the finger. In reality, money supply, over-regulation, a distinct lack of planning, inadequate funding, and extended periods of undersupply post the Global Financial Crisis are the driving forces behind the current housing crisis but I guess it’s easier to fix the blame than fix the problem.

Where do prices go from here?

I expect home prices to grow more moderately in the coming years as more supply reaches the market, but this will take time. Those waiting for a considerable pullback could be left wanting.

Don’t expect housing to become affordable any time soon.

"If I had to guess, it’s going to be years until we see anything approaching a “normal” housing market. We simply didn’t build enough homes following the last housing crash to meet the demand coming from millennials reaching their household formation years" - Ben Carlson 'A Wealth of Common Sense'

Looking ahead, rising rates could slow things a bit if mortgage rates get high enough. With that said, the central banks are relatively boxed in. Interest rates are unlikely to skyrocket given the effect this would have on the service level of Government debt, but that’s for another day.

Remember, just because you think house prices should fall, doesn’t mean they will. The distinction is vital.

The waiting game hasn’t always paid off.

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Credit Union launch a new collaboration with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd.

Building on recent success the Credit Unions of Kerry and West Limerick have launched a new collaboration with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd. Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd specialise in Photovoltaic (PV) […]

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Building on recent success the Credit Unions of Kerry and West Limerick have launched a new collaboration with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd.

Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd specialise in Photovoltaic (PV) Solar systems that generate electricity, battery storage, air to water heat-pumps and much more.
Gilroy’s work with customers to receive the SEAI once-off grant towards the purchase and installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and heat pumps for your home.
Collaborating with Kerry and West Limerick Credit Union expands the finance options available to Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd customers to help finance new PV Solar Panel installations. Loan rates will be directly linked to the property BER starting from 4.7%(4.89APR) for an “A” rated BER.
Martin Gilroy; CEO with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd said: “We are delighted to officially launch this collaboration with the Credit Unions of Kerry and West Limerick. Customers have already reaped the benefits on recent installation projects after contacting their local Credit Union. Having a direct link to local Credit Unions allows us to guide customers to affordable financing options based on the specific installation quotation we provide at very competitive rates.“
Speaking on behalf of the Kerry and West Limerick Credit Unions, Ashley Fitzgerald added: “We are delighted to have Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd come on board as part of our Greener Homes Loan offering. Home Energy Upgrade have become a prominent concern and talking point among members in recent months, by Credit Unions having a direct link with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd allows both sides to make referrals and seek the best finance option for members. We are working hard building relationships with Green Energy Ltd providers as we want to ensure our members can avail of the best loan rates for all upgrade works.”
Credit Unions across Kerry and West Limerick. Abbeyfeale Credit Union, Cara Credit Union, Killarney Credit Union, Listowel Credit Union and Rathmore and District Credit Union can be reached via: www.creditunion.ie
Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd can be contacted on 066-7115920, email info@gilroys.ie or for more information visit www.gilroys.ie.

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Racegoers Club to host Cheltenham Preview Night

Killarney Racegoers Club will host its annual Cheltenham Preview Night in Corkery’s Bar on March 7. Admission is free and this year’s chosen beneficiary is the Killarney Branch of St […]

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Killarney Racegoers Club will host its annual Cheltenham Preview Night in Corkery’s Bar on March 7.

Admission is free and this year’s chosen beneficiary is the Killarney Branch of St Vincent De Paul Society.
The expert panel includes professional punter Paddy Wilmott, leading jockey Conor McNamara, up-and-coming Kerry-based trainer Eoin McCarthy and local bookmaker Brendan Tyther with Vince Casey acting as the event’s compere.

“There is no admission fee but a raffle on the night for dual membership of Killarney Racegoers Club for the year, which includes 13 days racing and many reciprocal days to other race meetings,” said Mr Casey.

The Cheltenham Festival begins on March 12.

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