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What’s next for the property market?

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By Michael O’Connor    

This weekend I spent much of my time scrolling through various property websites, virtually searching through houses both at home and abroad.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do this quite a bit, but typically, I’m doing it out of curiosity more than intent.

Generally my wife sends me a link to a house, I have a nose at the pictures, and then I carry on living my life, the end.

This time it’s different.

The fact that we might actually buy one of the homes behind the link this time around adds a whole new and altogether stressful layer to a previously beloved pastime.

Like many, the idea of investing in property is something I have toyed with for a while. From a financial standpoint, I have never been overly drawn to the idea of real estate as an asset class.

Despite our cultural obsession with homeownership, there are multiple downsides. Blasphemy, I know, but bear with me.

Mortgage fees, property taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, estate agent fees, lack of mobility, landlord duties - to name just a few. All these seem to be conveniently forgotten when the back of the envelope property performance calc is being done.

Since 1940, the median home value in the United States, adjusted for home size, has increased at an annualised rate of 4.6%. After accounting for inflation, the average home value has risen by just 1.5% per year.

Stocks have generated roughly 7% per year over the long run after accounting for inflation. In other words, the stock market has generated returns at more than four times the rate of real estate appreciation.

With that being said, I do have some gripes with the stats above. Firstly, it ignores the excess volatility you get from the stock market.

Secondly, and more importantly, you can’t just strip out the leverage effect.

One final unique upside; if the capital appreciation isn’t what you expect, you can still live in it. The stock market doesn’t offer you a roof over your head.

Like most things in life, nothing is ever as good, or as bad, as it seems.

Property is no different.

With the background out of the way, let’s get into the important stuff.

Where do prices go from here?

My opinion: Do I think house prices are cripplingly high for first-time buys? Yes. Do I think they can go higher? Absolutely.

While I don’t think that property can continue to grow at the same clip into a rising interest rate environment, there are too many supportive variables at play to justify any significant move lower.

To read the full in-depth review of each factor driving the current property market and how long these factors will persist, go to www.theislandinvestor.com.

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Top 10 Essential tips for Leaving Cert Students in lead up to June 5

The final weekend leading up to the Leaving Cert exams can be very tough, as you try to balance last minute revision with much needed rest after a long, exhausting […]

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The final weekend leading up to the Leaving Cert exams can be very tough, as you try to balance last minute revision with much needed rest after a long, exhausting year.

The natural anxiety felt by students is often heightened by the annual media hype around the state exams and it is really important that you do your best to manage that stress effectively, so that you are ready to perform to the best of your ability once the exams start. The following tips may help to keep you focused and a little calmer in the lead up to June 5.

1. Review, don’t cram – Focus on summary notes, flashcards, or mind maps. This reinforces what you’ve already studied. Prioritise areas where you feel less confident, but don’t try to learn new material.

2. Practise past papers – Review marking schemes and time allocation for each question you will need to answer on each paper. Practise a sample of questions against the clock. This will maximise your scoring potential.

3. Organise your materials – Check the exam timetable and highlight your own exams. Prepare the stationary that you need, gather pens, pencils, calculators, and so on. Pack your bag the night before to avoid last-minute stress.

4. Maintain a healthy balance – Aim for 8 hours of sleep each night. Proper rest is crucial for memory, concentration and stamina. Eat well, include proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs in your meals to maintain energy levels. Drink plenty of water, hydration is essential.

5. Try to manage stress – Schedule short breaks during study sessions and do something enjoyable and relaxing, like a short walk, playing or listening to music. Get fresh air and some light exercise. Use relaxation techniques like breathing exercise, mindfulness and meditation.

6. Focus on a positive mindset – Focus on your strengths and remind yourself of your preparation. Concentrate on what you know and not on what you think you don’t! Try to avoid negative self-talk and steer clear of discussions that heighten anxiety, such as comparing how much you’ve studied with friends.

7. Plan your weekend – Create a realistic timetable for the weekend, balancing study sessions with breaks and relaxation and don’t overdo the study. You need plenty of energy for the exams.

8. Stay connected – Talk to friends and family, if you are feeling overwhelmed reach out and get support from loved ones. If it’s helpful, have a short, focused study session with friends to clarify doubts.

9. Keep things in perspective – The Leaving Cert is important but won’t define you and regardless of what happens you have several options open to you. Try to reframe the media hype as the whole country getting behind you, for what they know to be a tough time for you.

10. Get Set for exam day – Double-check the venue, seating arrangements, and required materials for the day of the exam. On the evening before the exam, do a light review of key concepts but avoid heavy studying. Ensure you know how to get to the exam venue and plan to arrive early (at least 30 mins on the first day). Decide what you’ll wear to avoid rushing in the morning and have your water and snacks ready to go.

Above all else, give the exams your best shot! Once they are over you have a lovely ‘study-free’ summer and bright future to look forward to. Go n-éirí libh ar fad, the very best of luck to each and every one of you!

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Disability toilets for Killarney Library

Works to build new toilet facilities for people with disabilities should commence later this year. Cllr Marie Moloney tabled a motion at a recent Kerry County Council meeting. She said: […]

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Works to build new toilet facilities for people with disabilities should commence later this year.

Cllr Marie Moloney tabled a motion at a recent Kerry County Council meeting.
She said: “Application has been made for funding to the Department. As soon as the funding is approved, work will commence on the provision of Disabled Toilet Facilities.
“While ramps are installed for accessibility, it is unacceptable that any public building be without disabled toilet facilities in this day and age.
“I am aware of several people with a disability who constantly use the services of the Library and are very happy with the staff and the services that Killarney Library offers but are disappointed at the lack of disabled toilets.”
“I will be keeping the pressure on to have these facilities provided as soon as possible.”

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