For 20 years Paul Reddy has been selling and giving away properties in Fingal, the fastest growing council area in Ireland, where Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien is a local TD. In Celtic Tiger’s time, he met 18 year olds with 100pc of mortgage approvals. He even had extra cash in his loan for a new car. “It was a frenzy,” he said. and now?
Every day people begging for rent come to my office. I’ve never seen anything like this. People are scared.”
Reddy grabs a bag of keys. he has agreed to allow sunday free To be with him all day. He works six days a week, sometimes from 9 in the morning until after 8 at night. His new electric BMW i4 M50 shows that business has been doing well – and he was even fortunate enough to buy his own home during the last recession.
He’s not complaining, but commissions on the sale of homes would be coming in more often if he could get more on his books: “I used to have 20-30 homes for sale at one time, now I only have There are seven or eight because the stock is so low,” he says.
Last year he sold 70 or more properties, “the most popular being a three-bed semi-detached house close to schools, shops and amenities. Those are the houses that lead to bidding wars”. He has seen couples stuck in bidding rounds over and over again for two years.
He says that the situation in the rental market is much worse. “If I rent up online, I will get 100 applications within two days. I’m really sorry for the couples where both are working – they don’t qualify for any of these housing assistant payments and they’re competing with people who do qualify who are recognized by Fingal County Council as their own. The rent is getting paid too much.”
On first look, there are four pairs. In the next, there are only two. Reddy reminds me that most people are at work, but there is still a sense that the market is cooling down.
“When people came out of the lockdown there was fierce competition for properties – I would have groups of six to nine in each scene,” he says. Properties are still selling out, but “people are taking longer to decide than they are asking to take a second look”. There was a time when they were making offers on the driveway “before you see the house”.
We walk around a 75 square meter semi in Donykarny on sale for €420,000. It needs a lot of work and everyone who sees it talks about the construction cost. “People are more attached to it now,” says Reddy. “After getting a mortgage, they may not have the extra money to keep the house. One woman told me that the one-story extension would cost her the most. The low bid was €100,000.”
After taking a look around, Nick, an actuary, tells me that he has been actively watching for three weeks. “I’ve heard stories of nightmares, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be,” he says. “It’s certainly a lot easier to see than to buy a rental. If you send 20 emails about a rental space, you get one response — and then you’re looking at it with 20 other people.” Huh.”
An hour later, we are at a housing estate in Swords. Vini is looking after the property with his younger daughter. “The rent is the real problem,” he says. “It’s frustrating people but I can wait. I think a big bubble. Will burst.”
It is around 8 pm, when Reddy is showing potential buyers in his last glimpse of the day. Laois and Ciaran are partners who are living separately with their parents until they can save enough to buy their own house. “We’re both in good jobs – why are we struggling so much?” Laois asks.
She doesn’t expect the market to soften any time soon: “They say a recession is on the way, but I can’t see it affecting house prices.”
Not long ago, on the news, she heard President Michael D. Higgins describing a housing “disaster” and lamenting the country’s “great, great, great failure.”
“It’s good to know that someone high is telling the truth for once,” she says.