Lack of choice for home buyers

Property experts suggest that to have a proper functioning housing market there needs to be around 2 years of housing supply available at any one time. A figure less than this has the potential to create house price inflation. Consider the fact that there was almost 29,000 houses sold last year. Now consider an interesting statistic recently released by the national property portal,, that there is (only) around 37,000 houses currently advertised for sale in Ireland, down from 54,000 available properties in March 2012. This has created an acute problem especially in Dublin where some estate agencies are quoting price rises of well in excess of 20% for certain property types in the more sought after areas.

Bidding for a larger slice of the first time buyers’ market

In an interesting move Bank of Ireland are now offering to pay the Stamp Duty cost of a property, up to the value of 1% of the borrower’s mortgage. It is available to first time buyers drawing down a mortgage from them before September 30th this year. It is probably one of the most attractive incentives in the current mortgage market but critics state it will further overheat certain sectors of the property market.

New Building Control Regulations 2014

As of the 1st March last, the new Building Control Regulations will impact on you if (a) You are constructing a new building, (b) building an extension of over 40 SqM or (c) materially changing the use of a building.

The Department of the Environment has stated that these new regulations will improve compliance and safety. Minister Hogan has stated that “there will be no change to the technical performance standards which a newly finished home must meet” and “as before the building must be built in accordance with the building regulations and that the only change , is that they will incur the additional design and certification costs”.

Critics of the new regulations point to the extra red tape and costs that will be ultimately incurred by the consumer. Industry sources estimate the extra cost will be €1,000 to €3,000 per property.

The main point of the new system is the compulsory requirement for certification of new buildings by an “Assigned certifier”, which has to be a registered architect, engineer or building surveyor.

From a self-build perspective the main points are follows;

  • As before, the owner/self-builder will assume overall responsibility. Before commencement they will have to notify the local authority and will have to sign the document referred to as an “Undertaking by builder”.
  • They must still nominate a registered Assigned Certifier. The Assigned Certifier will inspect and certify the works.
  • At completion the builder and Assigned Certifier will both certify the building in line with their responsibilities.
  • This creates the Certificate of Compliance on Completion which confirms that the works have been carried out to Building Regulations and the certificate can be then lodged to the Building Control Authority.

The lack of a Certificate of Compliance will create serious problems if you try to sell on or transfer the property at a later stage. There is more information available on the Department of the Environment website, Guide to the Building Control Amendment Regulations 2014.

The lighter side

It’s not all a bed of roses for landlords. A landlord recently met one of his tenants, who was in arrears with his rent, at the greyhound track in Curraheen, Cork. The landlord proceeded to ask his tenant for last month’s rent. The tenant told him not to worry about last month’s rent but to start praying for this month’s rent as it was running in the next race!

Cobbling together a deposit

To buy your first home you will need to save at least 8% of the purchase price of the property and also set aside money for legal fees, repairs and furniture. AIB & EBS will lend up to 92% of the purchase price, whilst 90% of the purchase price is available from Bank of Ireland, KBC, Ulster Bank and Permanent TSB. Expect to get a variable rate of approx. 4.5%. However if you can put savings of more than 20% towards your mortgage you will seriously be rewarded with more competitive rates some as low as 3.95%. Over the lifetime of a mortgage this is an enormous saving. Check out the comparison website

Interesting West Cork Buildings

This month it’s the Shambles in Bandon. Constructed in c. 1818 The Shambles was another name for meat market and was designed to house 22 stalls rented out to butchers around the inner court. It is a striking and unique structure with 15 sides. As the butchers moved out to shops around town the building became home to various uses such as sawmills, stables, motor works and 8/9 years ago it was converted internally to include luxury homes and apartments.