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What’s next for the property market?



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

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Five questions to ask yourself before buying a stock

By Michael O’Connor, When it comes to investing, nothing is certain. There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy. […]




By Michael O’Connor,

When it comes to investing, nothing is certain.

There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy.

The truth is, investing is hard, and building a portfolio of top stocks that beat the market is something that even financial professionals have trouble doing consistently.

For most people, investing in index funds is the perfect hands-off approach, providing broad exposure to the stock market at a very low fee. Even my own personal portfolio is made up of roughly 70% ETFs despite the fact I invest in the market for a living.

But I believe some stock picking is a good strategy for many hands-on people.

Taking a small portion of your overall portfolio and diligently selecting a small number of companies to invest in gives you an opportunity to learn about the investing process and fully understand the businesses you are investing in, which helps to build conviction in your positions.

From a psychological standpoint “collector’s instinct” kicks in, enabling people to participate and invest more money over time.

Lastly, for Irish investors, there are tax benefits to consider. If you invest in individual stocks, you are taxed at the CGT rate of 33%, and the first €1,270 of your gains are exempt from CGT each year. When investing in index funds or ETFs, you are taxed at the exit tax rate of 41% with no annual exemption.

For those interested in picking individual stocks, here are five questions you should ask yourself before investing in any company.

Do I understand the business?

Too many people invest in businesses they don’t understand because it ‘sounds good’. If you have no idea how the company works, you won’t have the conviction needed to hold onto the stock when an inevitable downturn comes.

Can the balance sheet withstand severe, temporary adversity?

This seems obvious, but so many people invest in companies without understanding how much money a company holds and who they owe money to. Economic cycles are guaranteed. You must ensure that the company has enough cash-on-hand to avoid becoming obsolete when activity slows.

Will the company benefit from long-term trends?

Make sure the company will remain relevant into the future. If the stock is cheap now, it may be cheap for a reason.

Is the company enjoying profitable growth?

Not growth at all costs, but a combination of sustainable growth and value. All this information can be found online at sites like

What are the risk factors?

Is the company trying something new and untested? If yes, who are its competitors and how successful are they? If other players are more established, this company may have a tough time breaking into the market.


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Ballyspillane staff open up mental health conversation

By Michelle Crean “Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign. It’s all in partnership […]




By Michelle Crean

“Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign.

It’s all in partnership with Mental Health Ireland (MHI) and the centre will host an information/coffee morning on Thursday next (March 30) at 12.30pm at their centre and all are welcome to attend.

The campaign initiated by MHI identifies the need for positive engagement and connections with the people around us.

It asks people to engage in open conversations about mental health and prompts us all to ask the question “How Are You?”

The word HELLO is a useful acronym to guide everyone through such conversations, H: Hello, E: Engage positively with the person, L: Listen actively, L: Learn about the person and O: seek options to assist the person if required.

“We all need a listening and compassionate ear sometimes to get us through some challenges in our lives and I think the pandemic has opened a new way of looking at the world, where we can all recognise the challenges that people experience more readily,” Derek O’Leary, Manager of Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre, said.

“Our team here are in the business of supporting families and individuals across the Killarney area and beyond and see the challenges that people face first hand. We also see the positive impact that a caring person can have in such circumstances and this campaign that encourages positive engagement, regarding mental health is a great reminder to us all, the role we can play is assisting others who are struggling.”

Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre provide a suite of support and intervention services including family supports, social prescribing/community connection services and physiotherapeutic services across the Killarney municipal area and beyond.


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