Posted by: RESOFFICE Admin | August 18, 2009

Rents drop 17% over 12 months

Article from the irishtimes.com – Tuesday, August 18, 2009

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2009/0818/1224252775599.html

RENTS HAVE dropped by an average of 17 per cent over the past 12 months, with a record number of available rental properties bringing the average national rent down to €800, according to property website Daft.ie. The Daft.ie rental survey for the second quarter of 2009 shows that rents across all major cities continued to plummet, with the supply of properties to rent peaking in July. Rents in Dublin fell by up to 7 per cent over the second three months of the year compared to the first quarter, while rents in Cork and Limerick fell 5 per cent over the same period. Ronan Lyons, economist at Daft.ie, said the total number of properties available to rent at any one time had risen steadily on the website over the past two years and hit a record 24,000 last month – three times the seasonal average. “As landlords compete for tenants in a market where supply exceeds demand, these falls in rents are to be expected,” Mr Lyons said. Since the peak, the number of properties available to rent has dropped back slightly, which Mr Lyons said could ease downward pressure on rents. Buy-to-let investors, many of whom are in negative equity on their properties, may still find it difficult to secure rental income due to the intense competition for tenants. On August 1st, 2007, Daft.ie advertised 6,200 properties that were available to rent nationwide. On August 1st, 2009, that number was 23,400 properties – almost four times as many. The prices paid by tenants for accommodation has dropped every month since early 2008. In early 2008, the average rent in Dublin was more than €1,300, but by July 2009 that had fallen to just over €1,000. Cork has seen a similar 20 per cent fall, with the average rent in the city now below €850. Across the State, rents are typically 15 to 20 per cent below their peak, with urban areas experiencing the greatest percentage falls. In rural parts of the State such as Kerry and Donegal, the fall in average rents has been closer to 10 per cent. Mr Lyons said that, while it was clear supply issues were dragging rents down, there was evidence that short-run pressures on investors at the top end of the property market were forcing them to slash rents. Areas that have experienced the sharpest decreases in asking prices, such as south Co Dublin, have recorded bigger rent reductions than regions such as Munster and Connacht, despite a smaller increase in supply.

Posted by: RESOFFICE Admin | August 17, 2009

Dubai’s property sector in turmoil as prices plunge 50% from peak

Article from the irishtimes.com – Monday, August 17, 2009

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2009/0817/1224252678153.html

DUBAI FAMOUSLY used to boast the highest concentration of construction cranes in the world – and quite a few Irish investors.

Now, its property sector has investors fighting for the return of down payments on buildings that might never be built and state-linked developers continuing to fall behind on contracting invoices despite having received billions of dollars in bailout money.

Firesales saw drastic reductions at previously desirable locations such as the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai’s first completed man-made island development, and at the Old Town district surrounding Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest tower that is planned to open later this year.

Colliers International’s house price index survey indicates that prices have almost halved since their peak last year, but the pace of deceleration is slowing from 41 per cent in the first quarter down to 9 per cent in the second quarter of this year.

Ian Albert, regional director, says the real estate market should reach its bottom in the last quarter of this year.

He adds that some encouraging signs have emerged, including a 50 per cent rise in the volume of transactions.

Developers are trimming down their project portfolios, but the market will still have to accept a surge in supply over the next couple of years, leaving the sector reliant on global economic recovery to lift Dubai’s outward-looking economy up again.

Matthew Green, CB Richard Ellis’s head of research for the United Arab Emirate, says the overhang of new apartments and villas – as much as 20,000 new units this year – will keep pressure on the property market.

“Lower rents should encourage the return of the expatriate labour force, but we aren’t seeing that yet,” he says.

“Let’s hope that can come in 2010, but such is the supply that we have to look for stability before a return to growth.”

Posted by: RESOFFICE Admin | August 16, 2009

The foreign property dream now turns nasty

Article from the independent.ie – Sunday August 16 2009

http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/the-foreign-property-dream-now-turns-nasty-1861366.html

Thousands of Irish investors who bought at the height of the boom now face financial ruin, writes Louise McBride

The plight of the embattled developer Liam Carroll — who owes eight banks €1.2bn — took another turn for the worse last week when the Supreme Court decided to withdraw protection for his companies.

The threat of insolvency now hangs over Carroll. But Carroll and the other developers in dire straits are not the only ones up to their eyes in debt. Tens of thousands of Irish investors are in financial meltdown after snapping up hyped overseas property investments at the height of the boom.

About 150,000 Irish investors are thought to have bought properties in Spain, while thousands more punters flocked to Portugal, Florida, Dubai, Bulgaria, Turkey and elsewhere.

As the price of many of these properties has collapsed — some by as much as 80 per cent — many don’t have the option of selling their holiday homes to pay off the massive loans thrown at them by Irish and foreign banks. The difference between the current market value of their holiday home — and the amount of money borrowed a few years ago to buy it — has become so marked that many owners of overseas property are facing financial ruin.

“At the very least, thousands of Irish people are in trouble with overseas property,” said Tom McGrath, a senior partner with Dublin law firm Tom McGrath & Associates.

“There’s a huge amount of people falling behind on the mortgage repayments for their holiday home. A lot of them want to walk away from the property and hand back the keys — but it’s not that simple anymore. The borrower has to do a deal with the bank.

“Many borrowers are adopting an ostrich approach to the problem — and that doesn’t work. Banks are entitled to repossess a foreign property, and they have even set up their own websites to sell such properties.”

In a desperate bid to offload repossessed holiday homes, foreign banks and estate agents have slashed the price of such properties.

The Spanish bank, Caixa Catalunya, owns Procam, a website offering discounts of up to 40 per cent on chalets and villas in Spain. The price of four-bed chalets in Arroyomolinos has been knocked back to €277,500 — down from €462,500. A villa in Girona, Catalonia, is advertised on Procam for €483,300 — that’s down from €537,000.

Another sales website, http://www.llavetex.com, is managed by the Spanish bank, Caja Murcia. Last Thursday, 243 flats were listed for sale on the website for the region of Murcia alone. About 127 flats were listed for Alicante.

Caja Madrid, one of the biggest savings banks in Spain, has its own official auction agents, Reser. Some of the properties on the Reser website are selling for about 40 per cent below their market value. One property in Alicante was for sale last week for €210,000 — that’s €125,000 below its market value.

Spain isn’t the only country where the value of holiday homes has collapsed.

With 1.5 million homes repossessed in the United States in the first six months of this year, house prices there have taken a hammering. And Florida — where thousands of Irish people snapped up retirement homes — is no exception.

Two years ago, a two-bed, two-bath condo in the Ibis complex in Naples sold for between US$370,000 and $450,000, according to the Cork broker, Jack French & Associates. The condos are now selling for $84,000 — a massive price drop of over 80 per cent. In Orlando, two-bed, two-bath condos in the Tradewinds complex have been reduced to $68,420 from $200,000.

One Dublin financial adviser, who did not wish to be named, said its clients “had lost a lot of money” in Florida. “In one case, a site was bought for €1m and €2m was then spent building a property on the site. That entire property is now priced at only €1m — so the client has lost €2m.”

Price drops in Dubai have also been staggering. The United Arab Emirates city, which witnessed rapid growth in recent years, recorded the most dramatic drop in house prices in the first three months of this year, according to the latest Knight Frank Global House Price Survey.

The price drop of 40 per cent was 10 times worse than that recorded by Knight Frank for Ireland. About six years ago, the Dubai property market was opened up to foreigners — a move which attracted a flood of Irish, British and other overseas investors. But many of those investors, lured by Dubai’s low taxes and glittering skyline, are now licking their wounds.

In some cases, the price of the properties snapped up has halved. Last September, prices of water homes in the luxury Palm Jebel Ali resort started at €1,018,519. They are now selling for €526,882 — almost half last year’s price.

The starting price of town homes in Palm Jebel Ali has dropped by about 43 per cent — from €833,333 last September to €473,118 today.

In Portugal, the price of properties based outside resorts has fallen by between 25 and 30 per cent, while resorts have seen a price drop of about 5 per cent, according to Martin Date, director with the overseas property company, Oceanico.

“The downturn in the Irish economy has inevitably had an impact [on the Portuguese property market],” said Date. “Some people are trying to offload their properties. In the first six months of this year, there was very little appetite for Portuguese property from the Irish market.”

Bulgaria was another country plugged as a ‘property hotspot’ about four or five years ago. Back then, the now disgraced solicitor Michael Lynn was still at large.

Among the properties promoted by Lynn were apartments in the All Seasons ski resort in Bansko, Bulgaria. In summer 2006, one-bed apartments in this resort sold for €55,000. The price has since dropped by over a tenth to €49,146.

Whether these apartments would actually fetch that price on the open market is another question.

Jack French, the owner of Jack French & Associates, said that price drops of properties in the Sunny Beach resort in Bulgaria have been “awful”.

In Hungary, prices have dropped by an average of 23 per cent, according to Jozsef Sztranyak, president of the Federation of Hungarian Real Estate Associations.

“Most overseas property has dropped in price over the last two years,” said Ann Collins, auctioneer with PropertyAuction.ie, a website set up to help distressed property owners sell off their homes.

“Anyone who bought property in Bulgaria in the last two to three years will find it very hard to sell as these properties are worthless.

“I get phone calls every day of the week from people trying to sell on properties bought in Turkey. Prices in Turkey have dropped by between 30 and 50 per cent. England is another big concern. There’s a huge amount of Irish who bought in England over the past 12 months — but many of these properties are probably only worth half of what they paid for it back then.”

Much of the overseas properties snapped up by over- eager buyers were bought on the back of promises of “guaranteed” rental income, which would supposedly cover the mortgage repayments on their property. Many of these guarantees never rang true — or expired a lot earlier than expected.

“We have come across a number of instances whereby people would have purchased a property overseas, financed by a foreign mortgage and the hope or ideal situation was that the rental income, or the “guaranteed” rental income, would be sufficient to service the mortgage repayments,” said David O’Donnell, partner with Tom McGrath & Associates.

“However, if the owner cannot rent the property, or is not receiving their “guaranteed” rental income, many are finding that they cannot afford to meet the monthly mortgage repayments, and instead of dealing with the problem, they choose to ignore the correspondence from the bank.

“In a lot of cases, the foreign bank sends the various notices, demands for payments and so on to the mortgaged property — not to the owner’s address in Ireland.”

This inevitably leads to cases of overseas properties being repossessed — and bought by local families — without the knowledge of the Irish owner.

Mr O’Donnell said he knew of at least one instance where a foreign bank repossessed an Irish man’s house in Spain.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Many of those who bought overseas property during the boom years are among the 423,400 people now on the dole queue. The chances of meeting repayments on the mortgage for their own home — never mind an overpriced villa in the sun — are already slim.

Thousands of overstretched Irish borrowers are struggling with the financial burden they took on to buy an overseas property. That struggle will continue for some time yet.

Posted by: RESOFFICE Admin | August 14, 2009

Carroll in last-ditch bid to save property empire

Article from the Independent.ie – Friday August 14 2009

EMBATTLED developer Liam Carroll will today make a dramatic last-ditch attempt to save his crumbling property empire.

He will make a fresh application to the courts for examinership on the basis of new figures for his threatened properties, the Irish Independent has learned.

Lawyers representing Mr Carroll will draw up a clause in the Companies Act that gives a company or companies three days from when a provisional liquidator has been appointed to re-apply to the courts for protection.

The move comes just three days after the Supreme Court refused to appoint an examiner to Carroll’s 51-strong Zoe Group of companies after highlighting a series of “obvious problems” about the assumptions supporting his survival plan.

The three-judge Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Murray, criticised Mr Carroll’s failure to exhibit the valuations, which were compiled by estate agents CBRE and Hooke and McDonald last December, to either the High Court or the Supreme Court.

Mr Carroll’s lawyers said the valuations had not been given to the courts because they were “highly confidential”.

But the court described his strategy for the companies’ survival as neither “credible” nor “reasonably viable”.

The next day the High Court, at the request of “stray creditor” ACC Bank, appointed Declan Taite of Dublin firm FGS as a provisional liquidator to the two main funding companies that lent down to the entire Zoe Group.

It is understood Mr Carroll — who has more than 100 companies in his building empire — has hired accountants KPMG to produce a new rescue plan he hopes will convince the courts that the companies in question — Vantive Holdings and Jersey-based Morston Investments — are viable.

When Justice Peter Kelly refused to appoint an examiner to six of his companies at High Court petition stage, he described the survival plan submitted by Mr Carroll’s lawyers as “lacking in reality”.

He described a projection by which the group would move from insolvency and a deficit of more than €1bn to a surplus of €290m after three years by independent accountant Fergal McGrath — who formulated the original rescue plan — as “a remarkable turnaround”.

A report by Mr McGrath, of accountancy firm LMH Casey McGrath, which is also auditor to the companies, claimed the group had a reasonable prospect for survival.

Industry sources last night described the move as a last resort for Mr Carroll, who owes a range of banks €1.2bn.

“Unless some blow-you-over evidence is produced I wouldn’t be that confident,” one source told the Irish Independent.

“This is what should have been presented at the Supreme Court stage.”

However, legal sources said that the court would be conscious of Section 6 of the Companies Act 1990, which allows for protection to be sought on the basis of new evidence.

Earlier this week the Irish Independent reported that a number of the banks owed €1.2bn by the builder agreed not to immediately appoint receivers to the two companies in question following a crisis meeting at Allied Irish Banks(AIB) on Wednesday.

It is understood that at the meeting, AIB — Mr Carroll’s biggest creditor — and a number of other lenders agreed not to move against the companies until a full hearing of the application of the liquidator had taken place on September 9.

One source, who declined to be named, noted that the legislation governing the National Asset Management Agency(NAMA) had yet to be finalised and could yet be altered to enable the body to resolve the situation.

The overall price NAMA will pay for the banks’ development loans will be disclosed on September 16. The meeting, which was not attended by ACC Bank, was the first time Mr Carroll’s creditors had met under the same roof since the Supreme Court ruling.

ACC Bank is owed €136m by Mr Carroll. The court heard on Wednesday that both Vantive and Morston had large deficits.

In the case of Vantive, the sum is €396m, while Morston has a deficit of €361m.

– Ailish O’Hora

Posted by: RESOFFICE Admin | August 13, 2009

Carroll saga reveals unholy pact between bankers and developers

Article from the irishtimes.com – Thursday, August 13, 2009

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0813/1224252497177.html

OPINION: The Carroll judgment is very good news for the taxpayer: the cat is out of the bag as to why the banks are cosying up to Nama, writes  KARL WHELAN 

IT IS too early to assess the impact on the Irish property market of the Supreme Court’s decision to deny examinership to Liam Carroll’s Zoe group. However, despite a lot of coverage focusing on potential complications stemming from the decision, I believe that the Carroll case has been very positive for the public interest.

The first positive aspect is that the case has finally given us a clear picture of the likely financial state of the Irish property developers whose loans the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) is supposed to purchase.

Carroll’s accountants have admitted that, as of today, his Zoe group could only pay back about one-quarter of the money it owes to the Irish banks. Keep in mind that many analysts have predicted Nama will purchase loans for an average discount of one-quarter. If Nama were to purchase the Zoe loans for such a price, it would imply the Irish taxpayer paying three times the amount that they could currently be sold to anyone else for.

Of course, it could be argued Carroll’s property empire might be in worse shape than those of other developers. It seems perfectly possible, however, the opposite is the case. His properties mainly consist of Dublin projects likely to get developed in years ahead. Consider, in contrast, the position of those developers who have pinned hopes on developing the proverbial field outside Mullingar.

The second positive aspect of the Carroll case and the judgments passed are the insights they have given us into the current unholy alliance between the Irish banks and property developers.

The first instalment in this story will be familiar to those who have followed banking crises elsewhere. As the property market began to fail and the prospect of substantial losses loomed, the banks decided to take it easy on developers because the revelation of large losses could have scared off international money markets from providing them with funds.

By the time these international markets were scared off, in September 2008, the banks continued to deny they were facing enormous losses. This denial of reality paid off for them. By fooling our Government into believing they suffered from a short-run liquidity problem rather than a long-term solvency problem, the banks managed to receive an almost-blanket guarantee on their debts from the Irish taxpayer.

The Carroll case revealed the latest, and most disturbing, aspects of the unholy banker-developer alliance. Justice Peter Kelly concluded that the survival plan put forward by the Carroll group was “fanciful” and “lacking in reality” and he was supported in this assessment by the Supreme Court.

However, despite the reality that Carroll’s business simply could not be saved, all the Irish banks involved, apart from ACC, actively supported this survival plan, allowing Carroll to continue rolling up interest and also taking the highly unusual step of providing the funds to pay off unsecured trade creditors.

Why would the banks do this? Why would they extend further money to a clearly failing developer with a fanciful survival plan? The only possible answer is these banks were determined to maintain the illusion Carroll would one day pay back the money he owed. And the reason for this illusionist act? Nama.

With Nama apparently determined to put an optimistic spin on all loan purchases, viewing them through the rose-tinted spectacles of “long-term economic value”, the incentive for the participating banks has been to maintain that loans such as Carroll’s are good and to then sell them to Nama for far more than they will ever repay.

The only reason we were ever allowed see the inside workings of Zoe’s alliance with the bankers was because Dutch-owned ACC was left out of Nama and so didn’t have any incentive to pretend the Zoe loans were any better than they are.

We don’t know what’s going to happen next in the Carroll saga. Quite possibly, the other banks involved in lending money to Carroll will now pay off ACC and revert to business as usual, ordering liquidators to let the fanciful survival plan be put into action. And quite possibly, Nama will end up purchasing Carroll’s loans at a large premium without the Irish public ever knowing, because the information will never be revealed, thanks to “commercial sensitivities”. Still, to some extent the cat is out of the bag because the public has now been able to see how little the Nama loans are really worth.

Much of the commentary on the Carroll judgment has focused on two potentially negative implications. The first has been the concern that a liquidation of Carroll’s assets will result in a “fire sale” that will somehow make the underlying situation in the Irish property market worse than it is already. I think this concern is misplaced.

What we now know is that the banks have been actively working to keep development properties off the market, so that their true values are kept out of the public domain. However, to work through our current problems, these property assets are going to have to be dealt with – either sold at a reasonable price or else demolished or returned to agricultural usage.

Carroll’s properties represent a small fraction of the overall €90 billion in assets that need to be dealt with. If the Supreme Court decision gets us finally started on the road to working through this overhang of property assets, then it will have done the Irish public a big favour.

The other widely expressed concern is that the potential sale of Carroll’s assets will be a “problem” for Nama’s valuation method. I suspect the problem these commentators are worried about is that when such sales reveal the true low value of Irish property assets, this will make it more difficult for Nama to pay high prices under the guise of long-term economic value. Well, this may be a problem for bank shareholders but I can assure readers that it’s good news for the Irish taxpayer.

Karl Whelan is professor of economics at University College Dublin

Posted by: RESOFFICE Admin | August 12, 2009

IBF says property market is close to bottoming out

The Irish Banking Federation says the crash in the Irish property market appears to be close to bottoming out.

The federation says the number mortgages drawn down in the second quarter of this year was up 15% compared to the previous three months.

However, it says this is a consistent seasonal pattern and the figures are still down 64% compared to last year.

More than 12,000 mortgages worth a total of €2bn were issued between April and June, with first-time buyers accounting for around one-quarter of the market.

The IBF says the next few months should show for definite if the sector is beginning to recover.

Posted by: RESOFFICE Admin | September 29, 2008

Real Estate Software Goes Mobile

(L to R) Dara O’Neill, from Colm McEvoy Auctioneers (Commercial) and Brian Whelan, CEO of Kratos - the creators of the Real Estate Software

(L to R) Dara O’Neill, from Colm McEvoy Auctioneers (Commercial) and Brian Whelan, CEO of Kratos - the creators of the Real Estate Software

Dynamic Property Professionals can Thrive in a Turbulent Market”, says RES

The creators of Real Estate Software this week launched a new mobile application on their office management system, RES Office, designed to assist property professionals search for properties on their mobile phones. In a further development they announced a pilot study for additional enhancements they are running with one of their clients, Colm McEvoy Auctioneers, Co Kildare.

“Digital technologies enable property professionals to transform their businesses and we are finding more and more estate agents and advisors are using them as progressive ways to serve the market in these turbulent times”, said Brian Whelan, CEO of Kratos, the creators of the Real Estate Software suite of products.

As well as the search application, Real Estate Software is conducting a four-week pilot programme with leading Kildare residential and commercial estate agents Colm McEvoy Auctioneers. These enhancements will allow property professionals use the mobile to access diary, accounts and a host of other functionality from their mobile phones.

Dara O’Neill from Colm McEvoy Commercial, the commercial wing of the group said: “We’re very happy to work with Kratos and the Real Estate Software team on this pilot. Their approach to the sector is very like ours – always looking for improvements and new ways to add value to clients”.

Pictured at the launch of a new mobile pilot study that will allow property professionals to match prospects, access diary, accounts and a host of other functionality from their mobile phones are (L to R) Dara O’Neill, from Colm McEvoy Auctioneers (Commercial) and Brian Whelan, CEO of Kratos – the creators of the Real Estate Software

Other recent improvements to the Real Estate Software system include:

Enhanced security and protection from viruses and Spam
Upgraded Lettings and Commercial sections to keep up with increasing and varied demands for these services
A new labeling system, marking properties for sale or to let as “reduced”, “newly priced”.
“These are difficult times for the property sector, to be sure, but we are finding a new breed of property professional is emerging from the current challenges”, said Whelan. “Agents are becoming more flexible, more customer focused and more competitive. And our continually improving web based software suits this kind of player very well”.

Posted by: RESOFFICE Admin | August 31, 2008

RES Office connects to Property News!

Now like MyHome, you can update Property News from your RES Office software.
Any changes that are made on your property will automatically update the same property in your Proeprty News Account.

Posted by: RESOFFICE Admin | April 15, 2008

Video Tours

Video Tours takes the user experience to a whole new level. The system uses video instead of photographs allowing the visitor “walk through” the property and, gives the user a much better understanding of the property as they are brought from room to room, upstairs and down, inside and out.

Video tours generally come with music overlaid, but can have the addition of a voice over explaining key features that invite every customer to take an inside look at what you have to offer.
When the finished video is produced, we supply two methods of viewing. DVD and Online where it can be streamed. The online version is hosted by Real Estate Software, and we can help you add links to your website to play the online version of the video.
Video tours. Price on application.
Example video tour below from the Whitesgate (www.whitesgate.ie) website.
Posted by: RESOFFICE Admin | January 25, 2008

Its only a text away!

Up to now, you had the ability to create print or mail merges from your contacts listing. Now with the addition of the text merge, you can send your contacts a text message saving you the cost on print and postage.

Older Posts »

Categories