A property bubble is developing in Ireland again. The Dublin housing market has seen residential property prices surge by 50% on average and as much as 100% in more affluent areas since the Dublin property market began to bounce in 2012.
“Crisis: The dysfunctional property market has already re-emerged just
a few years after the biggest housing bust in the country’s history”
Respected Irish economist and economic commentator Colm McCarthy warned last week that “there is another house price bubble under way in the Dublin area.”
While all the focus is on the housing crisis and the rising threat of homelessness for many including families, and rightly so, less attention is being paid to the surge in prices in Dublin. Prices have risen by so much that modest 3 bed and 4 bed houses in middle class suburbs in Dublin are now unaffordable to typical middle class families.
Many families need financial support from grandparents in order to be able to buy. This means that the majority of buyers are buy to let investors looking to profit from rising yields as rents spiral higher. Many of these buyers are cash buyers.
Writing in the Independent, McCarthy warned of increased speculation and “extraordinary prices”:
“Notwithstanding the efforts by the Central Bank to keep mortgage credit under control, some extraordinary prices have been quoted recently for the small parcels of land that become available.”
McCarthy cites spiralling Dublin land prices and makes the point that high prices being paid for land in Dublin means that the subsequent houses built on this land come on the market and much higher prices.
He focuses on the lack of supply, potential solutions and the risk that the government response may make matters worse including the risk of a wage price spiral as trade unions use spiralling house prices to secure higher wages leading to inflation and potentially stagflation as the global economy slows down.
The OECD voices concerns about an emerging property bubble in November. From the Examiner:
The OECD yesterday predicted the Irish economy will continue to grow strongly, but the Paris-based think- tank warned that the country faces “significant risks”, including another property bubble, as the crisis years are put behind.
“Pent-up demand after a long crisis may result in stronger private spending than projected,” the OECD said.
“Strong property prices may boost construction activity further in the short run, but also risk sparking another spiral of higher property prices and credit.”
Despite the eurozone getting a grip on its debt crisis by improving its bank safety net, “Ireland’s still high debt leaves it particularly vulnerable to any re-emergence of the banking and sovereign debt crisis”, it said.
UTV Ireland’s documentary series Insight investigated the state of the Irish property market, the housing crisis and whether there was a bubble developing, in a special report aired two weeks ago.
‘Insight: Is the Property Bubble Back?’ examined how the surging house prices in Dublin is forcing people to purchase properties in commuter towns such as Wicklow and Naas – where developments are currently being constructed to facilitate a rising demand, reminiscent of boom-time levels. As are average rents in Dublin which are now higher than at the peak of the boom.
UTV Ireland interviewed independent TD Mick Wallace who warned that there was new property bubble forming in Dublin.
Another Independent TD Richard Boyd Barrett voiced similar concerns to RTE as reported in the Irish Times:
The Government is “recreating the conditions for a housing bubble which has the potential to crash the Irish economy again in the near future”, according to People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett.
As was the case in 2007, there are valid reasons to be concerned about an emerging Dublin property bubble, especially given the extremely uncertain global financial and economic outlook.
Many of the risks seen in 2007 and in recent years remain and are now coming to the fore in 2016:
• Global economy remains vulnerable to recessions and new debt crises. There are fragile recoveries in the UK and U.S. while the Eurozone and Japan remain in recession
• Financial and banking system remains vulnerable as seen in the very sharp falls in German, European and U.S. bank shares in recent days
• Geopolitical risk in the Middle East (Syria, Saudi, Iran etc.), increasing tensions amongst Russia, China and western powers and the increasing spectre of terrorism and war
• The Eurozone crisis is far from resolved and there is the risk of debt crises in China, the U.S., the Eurozone, Ireland and other nations
We believe that gold and silver have had healthy periods of correction and consolidation. Both are more than 20% higher so far in 2016. We believe they should continue rising again in 2016 and in the coming years due to the considerable macroeconomic, systemic, geopolitical and monetary risks of today.
We are confident that gold will continue to protect those who own it as part of an overall diversification strategy and as crucial financial insurance in a portfolio. Dr Constantin Gurdgiev, Dr Brian Lucey, Eddie Hobbs, Jim Power and Jill Kerby are all advocating diversification into gold today.
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Gold Prices (LBMA)
27 April: USD 1,244.75, EUR 1,100.79 and GBP 853.58 per ounce
26 April: USD 1,234.50, EUR 1,093.46 and GBP 847.28 per ounce
25 April: USD 1,230.85, EUR 1,094.08 and GBP 853.79 per ounce
22 April: USD 1,245.40, EUR 1,104.34 and GBP 868.73 per ounce
21 April: USD 1,257.65, EUR 1,113.21 and GBP 877.01 per ounce
Silver Prices (LBMA)
27 April: USD 17.34, EUR 15.34 and GBP 11.87 per ounce
26 April: USD 16.95, EUR 15.02 and GBP 11.64 per ounce
25 April: USD 16.86, EUR 14.98 and GBP 11.67 per ounce
22 April: USD 17.19, EUR 15.26 and GBP 11.96 per ounce
21 April: USD 17.32, EUR 15.31 and GBP 12.05 per ounce