Timing is everything, they say. Irish Residential Property Real Estate Investment Trust (IRES REIT) shareholders will no doubt wholeheartedly agree when they gather in Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel for the company’s annual general meeting on Tuesday.
IRES is the Republic’s biggest residential landlord and owner of more than 2,500 apartments in Dublin. Last year, its rental income rose 20 per cent to €36 million, while profits, including the increase in the value of its properties, grew almost 40 per cent to €65 million.
None of this should surprise anybody. IRES began acquiring apartments and floated in 2015. Simply put, it turned up at just the right time to buy large quantities of something that a lot of people needed and then began supplying it to them.
Even the most cursory glance at the Irish media in 2015 would have revealed that a growing population combined with a building industry struggling to get over eight moribund years had created a housing crisis in the Republic.
So you did not need to be Einstein to work out what to do: get the resources, invest in the Irish residential sector and watch the cash roll in. Nonetheless, shareholders will be pleased with their own prescience and happy with the company’s performance.
Barring some form of global emergency that freezes investment – which can’t be ruled out – they can look forward to more of the same this year. The accommodation crisis is set to drag on for another while. IRES is collecting €1,500 a month from renting out apartments in Finglas in north Dublin.
Meanwhile, An Bord Pleanála is weighing applications for large housing schemes, most of them in Dublin, under the new fast-track system for such projects. It will begin deciding on them over the coming months.
At this stage, it looks like many will get the green light, allowing work to begin. Measures such as fast-tracking will ultimately boost supply, easing current pressures in the market.
IRES shareholders will eventually learn the worth of another cliche: that nothing – not even intractable housing crises – lasts forever. It is only a question of when – or, if you like, timing.