Home Truths »

  • Do you have a flexi-address?

    January 27, 2012 @ 12:27 pm | by Edel Morgan

    Do you have a flexi-address? The advantage of one of these is that you can change where you live according to your mood or whoever you happen to be talking to at a particular time.
    People with flexi-addresses come in two categories: those who are in denial about their true address and those who really aren’t sure.

    I have fallen into the latter category for most of my life. I grew up in a progressive, if confused, neighbourhood, where you could literally choose where you wanted to live. Although we all lived in the same house, one member of my family lived in Ballymun, another in Finglas while others veered towards Glasnevin. To confuse matters further, a number of people formed their own breakaway area, Glasnevin north.
    The reason for the lack of one true identity was that our neighbourhood is sandwiched between three areas. While it is in the parish of St Canices church in Finglas, it is close to parts of Ballymun and a stone’s throw from Glasnevin Avenue.

    Those selling houses or applying for jobs might have gone  for the Glasnevin option. However, purists will always rumble your Glasnevin credentials by asking: “So how far is that from the Botanic Gardens?”  Subsequent addresses included Blanchardstown, but which was very close to Mulhuddart.  I now live in  Beaumont  minutes away from the hospital  but  so close to Artane you can see St David’s school from our road.

    The problem with being borderline is that even if you manage to procure ordnance survey map evidence of your real address, it doesn’t stop spoofing if the occasion demands.  When it comes to selling houses how often have you seen Irishtown masquerading as Sandymount, Fairview as Clontarf, Coolock as Santry, Ballybrack as Killiney and Donaghmede as Malahide? Then there’s the  ever-burgeoning Blackrock which now stretches from the Merrion Gates to the Dublin mountains often obliterating areas like Deansgrange, and even parts of Cabinteely on its way.

    I’m yet to come across any incontrovertible proof that changing your address has any effect on property values.
    However if an  entire neighbourhood decide they deserve a change of address and believe hard enough they want to live in a particular area then it can happen – as was the case when the Ballymun Avenue became Glasnevin Avenue.  Dublin 6W would have been part of  Dublin 12, except  people who lived there kicked up because they felt they would be disadvantaged. I’m wondering if  I and all my neighbours were to decide we live in Clontarf north (far far north), would that have a sudden upward effect on property values? Would people suddenly perceive our area to be more upmarket or would we just look a tad silly and pretentious?

    And it’s not only geographical boundaries that get crossed when occasion demands, now you’ve got Terenure residents  wanting electoral boundaries changed to reflect its ‘middle-class’ concerns. Some will even consult ancient geographical borders if it means proving a point. A friend who lives in Blanchardstown claims she  lives in Castleknock because it is in the barony of Castleknock. For those who don’t know, a barony is a county subdivision thought to be a Norman division although its precise origin is unknown . There are 331 baronies in Ireland and they are no longer used for local government.

    But ultimately  is manufacturing an address that you perceive is better than the one you’ve got  not buying into rampant snobbery?  Isn’t it better for the soul to be loud and proud about where you really live? Unless  like me, you are not really sure….

  • Well boo-hoo – landlords in trouble get very little sympathy

    January 19, 2012 @ 10:29 am | by Edel Morgan

    Not all landlords in trouble greedily accumulated property during the boom

    “Well boo-hoo!” was the response of a colleague recently to the news that landlords are having a hard time of it lately. It seems that there is every sympathy  for the person who falls into difficulty with the repayments on their family home but very little for those who can’t service a mortgage on an investment property. But  is that entirely fair?

    Not every landlord  has a bulging portfolio of property they  accumulated during the boom. Not every landlord is a mean-minded grasping Rigsby-style character that would charge tenants through the nose to live in a garden shed, if they could get away with it. In fact the figures suggest that most Irish investors  are not career landlords, they are small-time investors who  accumulated  an extra  property or three through a combination of circumstances and easy credit.

    There are quite a few landlords out there who acquired their status when they traded up and decided not to sell their first property. By renting it out, they reckoned the mortgage would be taken care of and the property could be a nest egg for them when they retire or a place they could eventually pass on to their kids. With the first property ticking over some may have taken a punt on a second investment property, thinking they were doing the right thing for their future. Nothing overly ambitious – not exactly hoovering up every available property – but boy are some of them regretting it now. Because if you fall into financial difficulty with an investment property that isn’t paying its way, it is a dreadful drain on resources.  For those who are struggling to make ends meet and pay the mortgage on their family home, the problem is magnified if you also have an investment property to subsidise.

    And if you bought it after 2002- 2003  with a  mortgage (ie you weren’t a cash buyer) it  is  likely to now be in some degree of negative equity so selling may not be an option. If you got a top-up loan to refurbish the place the chances are your rent mightn’t be covering the mortgage and if you have a social welfare tenant  you are likely to be  under pressure to reduce your rent. Add to that the household tax, NPPR charge, PRTB registration fees and  service charges.

    A friend of mine owes €900 this year between the NPPR, household tax on her own house and  on  her investment property and a  €300 service charge on her investment property.  She held on to her first house in west Dublin when she got married , a modest three-bed, and let it out to a social welfare tenant. Now eight years and several children later the rental property is in negative equity, her husband is unemployed and she is supporting the family on a much-reduced wage. She has no idea how she is going to pay the charges on the rental property and is considering finding herself a second  job at the weekend to keep  everthing afloat. Meanwhile her social welfare tenant (because that is predominantly the market in the area  where she owns the house) is asking her to reduce the rent. As it is, the rent is €200 shy of the montly mortgage repayment because she has already reduced it  several times over the past 24 months to stay in line with local rents. Then there’s income tax payable on the property,  a hefty enough sum,  even though she’s not making a profit.

    “Well boo-hoo,” you might say. Buying any property is a risk and she should never have held on to her first property  if she can’t take the heat. But couldn’t the same be said of anyone who buys a property, even as a family home? Isn’t it always a risk? How many of us really knew how things were going to turn out? And wouldn’t more of us have invested during the boom if we’d had the opportunity?

  • One house in Dublin or 100 in Leitrim?

    January 12, 2012 @ 10:25 am | by Edel Morgan

    The former chairman of AIB Dermot Gleeson sold his  house on Shrewsbury Road in Ballsbridge for a figure believed to be in excess of  €5 million. (click here to read more) – a third of the price it would have fetched at the height of the boom. But in today’s market €5 million is  a lot of money and with more square foot for your euro,  I couldn’t help wondering what you can get elsewhere for that amount .

    So €5 million will get you?

    One house on Shrewsbury(but it would have to be semi-detached and probably not in pristine condition). Add on  €2- €3million plus for  one that’s detached and in tip-top condition. And if there are substantial grounds add  at least €5 million. Walford (bought by Sean Dunne in 2005 for €58 million) was asking €15  million even though the house needs complete refurbishment. As no sale has been confirmed yet, we wonder if anyone bid anywhere near this figure?

    Two trophy houses on Palmerston Park, in Rathmines.  Sherry FitzGerald is asking €2.45 for Nadur on Palmerston Park,a super-swanky six bed 325 sqm . However, with no takers so far, the price might be negotiable.Click here

    Three Houses in Abington, Malahide. A five-bed mansion, once owned by Ronan Keating  (click here to read more)- which he sold  back to Parkway Properties two years ago, has just sold for around €1.5 million through  Lisney, which is a good price (relatively speaking)  considering a clutch of other vendors there  are looking for upwards of €1.8 million. Back in the day prices for some of these mock-Georgian mansions were around  €3 million.

    Four houses with sea views  in Howth.  There are now fairly substantial houses in Howth asking around  €1 million- €1.5 million (and  just because they are asking doesn’t mean they are getting) such as Ardeevin on Carrickbrack Road- a four-bed overlooking Dublin Bay with an oval sitting room click here . There’s also Shandon on Carrickbrack Road, a redbrick split level on half an acre asking €1 million with four bedrooms click here.Taobh Coille on Claremont Road in Howth is asking €1.5 million. It  is 1,600 sq ft  has been refurbished and has a 135 ft garden click here

    Five big houses  in Dalkey. Such as 24 Ulverton Terrace, a  four-bed  250 sq m refurbished house currently asking €1 million. Click here or Waterside on  Coliemore Road is a modern detached waterfront house of  2,500sqft / 232sqm with  sea views, off street parking and planning permission for a private slipway which is also asking €1 million.Click here

    10 big family houses in Cork. There are any number of impressive-looking four and five-bed family homes priced at around the €500,000 mark such as Clifton House in Grange, Douglas, Cork, a five-bed 245 sqm detached  house  on over half an acre. Click here and Mitchells Court, a new five-bed  220 sqm detached house in Kerry Pike. Click here

    20 apartments in Dublin’s  docklands. Two and three beds in sought after apartment developments in Dublin’s docklands are now asking around €230,000-€270,000.  In Forbes Quay in Grand Canal Square a two bed  third floor apartment with a terrace around the corner from the Grand Canal theatre is asking €249,000 through Owen Reilly. Nearby on Gallery Quay a two-bed fifth floor apartment with a balcony  is asking €260,000. Click here On the north docks, a two bed apartment on Spencer Dock is asking €240,000 through Hooke & MacDonald.Click here

    50 three-bed terraced houses in Finglas. There is a huge choice at the moment of three beds in the area at prices starting at €80,000-€100,000. A three bed end of terrace on Dunsink Drive is asking €80,000. Click here and a three bed terraced house on Abbotstown Drive is asking €89,950.Click here

    100 one and two-bed apartments in Leitrim. As Leitrim has  the lowest house prices in Ireland, €5m could well  get you around 100 apartments priced between €40,000-€50,000.  In Dillon Court in Manorhamilton a two bed ground floor isasking €38,000. Click here and 7 The Old Mill, a swish looking two bed in a converted mill is asking €40,000. Click here

Search Home Truths