Housing association says property funds buying entire blocks pushing up rental prices


By Olivia Kelly, Originally published in The Irish Times, Thu, Aug 9, 2018

Link to full article here: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/naked-greed-of-investors-driving-eye-watering-rents-1.3589738


The “naked greed” of some private landlords and large scale property investors is driving “eye-watering” rents in Dublin, the chief executive of one of Ireland’s largest housing associations has said.


Seán O’Connor of Tuath Housing Association, which is part of one of the three shortlisted consortiums bidding to build the State’s social housing public private partnership (PPP) schemes, said real estate investment firms buying entire apartment blocks were pushing up rental prices.


The association, which hit a milestone last month in providing its 4,000th home, is seeking to increase its purchase of property for use as social housing. However, Mr O’Connor said it was facing increased competition from institutional property investment firms.


“When we are looking to buy our biggest competition is investment funds. It’s very hard to compete with them. We were recently bidding on 115 apartments but were outbid at €36 million. If people are paying that amount of money the only way the investor is going to get their money back is by charging eye-watering rents,” he said.


“It’s self-fulfilling. The more of this type of money that’s ploughed in, the more rents will increase.”


Tuath did however, have recent success in buying Harold’s Court, a block of 23 vacant apartments, on Parnell Road opposite the Grand Canal. The block had gone on the market with a guide price of €7.25 million, Tuath paid €8.75 million.


“In this case we managed to stave off competition from a Reit [real estate investment trust] which doubtless would have charged very high rents.”

While Tuath’s principal activity is the provision of social housing, it’s also supportive of the new cost rental model, where qualifying low- and middle-income workers pay below market-rate rents, based on the cost of providing the accommodation.


“We’re currently working with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Respond on 155 homes in Stepaside, one-third will be let equivalent to the cost of providing the units, hopefully at 25 to 30 per cent below the market rent, and two-thirds will be social. We think it will be first cost rental scheme in the country.”

Cost rental, or affordable rental has been the “missing link” in housing provision, Mr O’Connor said.


“The private rental market is quite frankly disgusting in certain areas, it’s just naked greed. I have no problem with people making a profit, but it is wrong to profiteer on the back of people who have no choice,” he said.


“There are a lot of decent private landlords, there are also a lot of chancers.”

Tuath, a not-for-profit organisation, provided 837 homes last year, a figure it hopes to match this year. Its largest scheme last year, and one of the largest apartment schemes built in the State in 2017, was a development of 122 apartments, completed in collaboration with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Nama on the site of the old Dún Laoghaire golf course near Glenageary…



Link to the full article:  https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/naked-greed-of-investors-driving-eye-watering-rents-1.3589738

August 14th, 2018

In the news this week:


“In October 2015, then minister for environment Alan Kelly announced six locations had been chosen for the first 500 homes. Two of the sites were in Dublin city at Ayrfield on the Malahide Road and Scribblestown in north Dublin, while a third was in the South Dublin County Council are at Corkagh Grange. Sites at Dunleer in Louth, Convent Lands in Wicklow Town and Craddockstown in Naas, Co Kildare were also selected.


While the sites are in four counties, Dublin City Council was selected as the contracting authority for the other councils. City councillors approved the overall plan in April of last year, although several councillors said they could not support a return to the PPP model, given previous negative experience, while others raised concerns about building large scale council housing estates with no social mix. Developer Bernard McNamara had backed out of a PPP deal to develop five city council sites for housing in 2008, leaving council housing flat complexes derelict…


While the previous PPP housing schemes included private homes, only social housing will be built on the six sites, with tenants allocated by the relevant local authority.


A single development consortium will build the homes across the four counties. Five groups made bids to build the homes, with three remaining in the running, these are: Torc Housing Partnership, involving, Tuath Housing Association as the tenant manager, with builders JJ Rhatigan, and equity providers Kajima Partnerships and Equitix; Comhar, involving Oaklee Housing with Sisk and Macquarie Corporate Holdings; and BAM PPP involving Circle Voluntary Housing Association and Bam Building.”


Link to the full Irish Times article here: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/contract-for-more-than-500-social-homes-to-be-awarded-1.3589740

August 10th, 2018

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                                                                                          This affects Natural Gas customers in Galway only



The operator of the Corrib Gas terminal has confirmed that a quantity of odourless gas has entered the gas network.


As Natural Gas is odourless, it will not be possible to smell a potential leak on your supply in the unlikely event of a leak.


Gas Networks Ireland are urging Natural Gas customers in Galway City, Oranmore, Tuam, Headford, to turn off their gas supply at the valve in their meter box until further notice.


Customers can click on the link below for the necessary steps to take to turn off their gas supply.


We are recommending this action because in the unlikely event of a leak customers in these locations only, will be unable to smell gas in the current circumstances.


Gas Networks Ireland are working with the Corrib operator to resolve this issue and remove the un-odourised gas from the network in a safe and controlled fashion.


The best estimate is that this may take between 48 and 72 hours and Gas Networks Ireland apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused by these measures.  While the risk is low, safety is our 1st priority in operating the network.


Customers seeking assistance can visit our “Contact Us” page on this website or call our Customer Care line on 1850 200 694.


Customers who suspect a gas leak or smell gas should always call our 24-Hour emergency line on 1850 20 50 50.



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