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    Couple earning average wage cannot afford cheapest new apartments in Dublin

    A couple earning average wages still cannot afford even the cheapest new apartments in Dublin, according to a new report from the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.
    The Real Cost of New Apartment Delivery Report also found most types of apartments are not economically viable for developers to build for sale.
    The society’s report found that the situation has improved since its previous study in 2017, with development costs decreasing for two categories of apartments and economic viability also improving.
    It stated this was the result of the relaxation of building regulations brought in by ministerial guidelines in 2018, particularly the reduction in car parking spaces and the removal of a requirement that apartments have dual aspect or natural light in two directions.
    However, it found that the cheapest two-bed apartment available, which would be a low-spec build in a low-rise suburban development, had a sales price of €375,000.
    This would require a deposit of €37,500 and the buyer to have an annual income of at least €96,000.
    A couple on average incomes would be earning just €88,000 between them.
    The President of the SCSI said supports are needed and that the new Shared Equity Scheme should give apartment buyers a longer payback period because of the higher costs.
    Micheál Mahon also said it takes up to 18 months to get a 100-unit scheme to planning and judicial reviews are causing further delay.
    “Delays by utility companies, especially Irish Water, are also proving extremely costly and need to be addressed. As this report shows, apartment construction is a costly business,” he said.
    The report set out four-category apartment types consisting of low-rise suburban, which is three storeys high; medium-rise suburban (three to six storeys); medium urban (five to eight storeys) and high-rise urban (nine to 15 storeys).
    Each category had a range depending on whether the development was high-spec or low-spec.
    It calculated that the all-in cost of delivering medium-rise two-bedroom apartments in Dublin ranged from €411,000 for a low-spec unit in the suburbs to €581,000 for a high-spec one in the city.
    A profit margin of 15% is then added to see which categories are economically viable for developers to build for homebuyers.
    It found that low and medium-rise suburban are viable if they are low-spec, according to current market prices. This is an improvement since 2017 when only low-rise suburban fell into that category.
    ‘The Real Costs of New Apartment Delivery 2020’ report also found that the actual cost of building a medium-rise apartment makes up 47% of the overall costs.
    Other so-called “soft costs”, such as VAT, levies, and fees, make up 42%, with site costs amounting to 11%.
    The overall development costs for medium-rise developments have gone down by up to 9% while most categories increased.
    Chair of the SCSI working group Paul Mitchell said Build To Rent developments are more economically viable as there are fewer restrictions relating to the apartment mix, car parking and size.
    He said they are also more attractive to pension funds, which can take a longer-term view of the asset.
    Mr Mitchell added: “It is not surprising therefore that 76% of the units analysed are for rental rather than sale.”
    Meanwhile, another report found that Covid-19 had caused a 21% decline in property transactions across the country in the 12 months to November last.
    The GeoView Residential Buildings Report View found that in Dublin, the area with the highest number of property transactions was Dublin 15, which includes Blanchardstown and Clonsilla.
    The postcode with the lowest average residential property price was €230,233 in Dublin 10, which includes Ballyfermot, while the highest was €771,542 in Dublin 6, which includes Ranelagh. More

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    Residential property prices decrease by 0.8% nationally in the year to September

    Residential property prices decreased by 0.8% nationally in the year to September, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
    This compares to a decrease of 0.9% in the year to August and an increase of 1.1% in the twelve months to September 2019.
    In Dublin, residential property prices saw a decline of 1.8% in the year to September, while property prices outside Dublin were 0.1% higher.
    In Dublin, house prices decreased by 1.6% and apartment prices decreased by 0.6%. The highest house price growth in Dublin was in Fingal at 2.1%, while Dublin City saw a decline of 4.2%.
    Outside Dublin, house prices were up by 0.2% and apartment prices up by 0.4%. The region outside of Dublin that saw the largest rise in house prices was the Midlands at 4.0% – at the other end of the scale, the Mid-West saw a 5.7% decline.
    Overall, the national index is 17.6% lower than its highest level in 2007. Dublin residential property prices are 22.7% lower than their February 2007 peak, while residential property prices in the Rest of Ireland are 20.1% lower than their May 2007 peak.
    Property prices nationally have increased by 83.7% from their trough in early 2013. Dublin residential property prices have risen 91.5% from their February 2012 low, whilst residential property prices in the Rest of Ireland are 83.9% higher than at the trough, which was in May 2013. More

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    Go up, go out: which extension type is right for you?

    Lots of us need more space or want to maximise what we already have. Potential savings from a mortgage switch, combined with additional funds could be the way to create a dream layout   Sponsored by Ulster Bank   For many of us, space has become something we’ve been thinking a lot about over the…
    The post Go up, go out: which extension type is right for you? appeared first on MyHome.ie Advice & Blog. More

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    How to get a warm, energy-efficient home now and into the future

    Improving your BER rating is a great way to reduce bills. Potential savings from switching your mortgage along with access to grants could be the way to create your own cosy home

    Sponsored by Ulster Bank

    This winter our homes will be our havens. We are likely to be working from them, relaxing in them and we will likely be using more light, heat and energy than ever before as a result. Lots are thinking about an energy retrofit right now too, because insulation and heating upgrades can greatly improve comfort levels in the home – as well as reducing our energy bills.
    So, in part seven of our Switch it Up series, we’re talking to two experts who explain how to maximise the efficiency of our homes.
    Many of us are a bit bamboozled by the process of upgrading our properties, and are unaware of the grants available to help us to bring our home from a low building energy rating (BER) to a higher one.
    A BER is a grading, from the highest at A1, to the lowest at G, on how much energy a home requires for heating, hot water, lighting and ventilation. The goal for many is to have an A-rated home. Better for the environment, achieving it will save you lots in energy bills – but many homes are nowhere near this grade.
    Architect Gearoid Carvill of ABGC Architects explains what a bad BER means for a property and how to achieve a better one. “CSO statistics tell us that more than 50 per cent of housing in Ireland is D-rated or lower, so most of us have direct experience of bad BERs. Typically, a lower grade means that the house is more expensive to run.
    “Studies show that improving BERs add value to homes and that changing up one level, say from C2 to C1, equates to a 1 per cent increase in property value,” he says.
    To improve a BER, the simplest and most inexpensive changes can help. “I have seen refurbishment projects where you could improve the rating by swapping out the light bulbs with LEDs,” he reveals.
    When considering a more significant energy efficient retrofit of a property, Carvill recommends homeowners start with the ‘thermal envelope’ – that’s the walls, floors, roof and windows.
    “In an uninsulated home, a third of the heat is lost through the roof,” he says. “Insulate your attic with a minimum of 350mm quilt insulation in layers between, and above the ceiling timbers. You could also insulate the water tank if uncovered.”
    “Then look to heating controls and update your heating system. You could replace an oil or gas boiler with a heat pump or by adding solar, to heat hot water, which can be done with an existing tank. Update heating to controls for time, temperature and zonal, if feasible. An individual thermostat costs from €70 to €200. Thermostatic radiator valves sense the temperature in the room and adjust the flow. They are inexpensive, less than €20 a radiator,” he adds.

    For retrofit refurbishment there’s a holy trinity: comfort, economy and environment. If done right you should achieve all three, regardless of which is your priority.

    Wall insulation and window upgrades go together. The cost of insulating a compact three bed semi-detached property could be around €14,000 to €16,000, but significant grants exist towards the work. The price for triple-glazed AluClad windows will be similar, he adds.
    Typically the average 3-bed semi-detached property will perform much better and be more comfortable once work is done.
    In terms of your energy costs, “previously published data by the SEAI suggests that for a 3-bedroom semi, the costs per annum could be €190 for an A1-rated home, and €4,000 for the G-rated home,” he says.
    Grant help
    While there are significant costs attached to many of the works, grants of up to €6,000 are available for most of them from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
    Tom Halpin, head of communications with SEAI, says to apply for a grant, start with a BER assessment carried out by a SEAI-registered assessor. The certificate and advisory report provided will explain what works can be undertaken to improve the home’s energy performance, and what works should be prioritised.
    There are a range of grants available. “There are grants for attic and wall insulation which make the home cosier and keep in heat,” he says.
    “Once you have sealed your home and it is more efficient, you move to improving the heating system. Grants for heating controls are available and we are also encouraging renewable heating systems in the home – that could be solar panels to generate hot water or going all the way towards using a heat pump. The lowest grant is €400 for attic insulation and highest is €6,000 for external wall insulation on a detached house,” Halpin says.
    Once you have decided on the works you want to have carried out, the process of applying for a grant is quite simple.
    “You must decide what contractor you want to use – and there are hundreds of contractors from across the country listed on the SEAI website that are committed to the terms and conditions of the grant scheme. They have the properly qualified staff to do the work and can be inspected by us at any time,” he says.
    “You need a metre point reference number which is written at the top of a bill from your electricity supplier. You then go online, put in all your details and select the measures you would like to undertake, and the contractor that you want to use, and you will get almost an instantaneous approval if all of that is in order.
    “You then have eight months in which to get the works done. Once you get the offer, you can schedule works with various contractors. Grants are paid directly into your bank account or can be paid directly to the contractor. You must then get a BER assessment carried out after the works to see the uplift to the property,” he finishes.
    Homeowners can also engage with energy supply companies such as SSE and ESB, which offer to manage the works as it helps towards their energy reduction targets.
    One major benefit to an energy retrofit is that a BER rating generally translates to a higher resale value of the property. However, Halpin says this isn’t usually a homeowner’s motivation.
    “The first big benefit is the comfort in their home, and research has shown people realise immediately that comfort,” he adds.
    For retrofit refurbishment there’s a holy trinity, Gearoid Carvill says. It is “comfort, economy and environment. If done right you should achieve all three, regardless of which is your priority.”
    About Switch it Up
    Switch it Up is a new 12-part series for those who might be considering switching mortgage provider to make savings on their monthly repayments. It is a follow-up to the award-winning Story of Home series, which explored the idea of home through the eyes of creative people who found their dream place to live.
    Now, Switch it Up, which like Story of Home is supported by Ulster Bank, looks at helpful information on home improvements as well as renovators’ home tours. Plus, we’ve got helpful answers to your mortgage switching queries: from the incentives to how long it will take (not long!) and what’s involved in making a mortgage switch, read our Everything you need to know about switching your mortgage guide at irishtimes.com/switchitup.
    Perhaps now more than ever, we want our homes to suit the way we live and work, and being able to explore the potential in our homes offers us flexibility. This series is designed to unlock the ways in which we might Switch it Up in our homes as our wants and needs change.
    Switching your mortgage could free up funds to help you make these changes. “At Ulster Bank, we want to be a part of the journey you take in making your home the best it can be,” says Sean Kellaghan, mobile mortgage manager at Ulster Bank.
    “We want to make the mortgage switching process as simple and as hassle free as you do,” he adds. Kellaghan understands the stress that can come with making a switch, and he offers reassurance.
    “We are here to help you, and the process is a lot shorter and a lot more straightforward than you might think. Get in touch today and we can talk you through the options and process.”
    For more information, visit ulsterbank.ie
    Ulster Bank Ireland DAC is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland More

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    Residential property prices down 0.6% in the year to August

    Residential property prices decreased by 0.6% nationally in the year to August, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
    This compares to a decrease of 0.6% in the year to July and an increase of 1.9% in the twelve months to August 2019.
    In Dublin, residential property prices saw a decline of 1.6% in the year to August – house prices decreased by 1.4% and apartments increased by 0.1%. The highest house price growth in Dublin was in Fingal at 1.7%, while Dublin City saw a decline of 3.4%.
    Residential property prices in Ireland excluding Dublin were 0.3% higher in the year to August, with house prices up by 0.4% and apartments down by 0.7%. The region outside of Dublin that saw the largest rise in house prices was the South-West at 5.2% – at the other end of the scale, the Border saw a 2.7% decline.
    Overall, the national index is 17.6% lower than its highest level in 2007. Dublin residential property prices are 22.6% lower than their February 2007 peak, while residential property prices in the Rest of Ireland are 20.1% lower than their May 2007 peak.
    Property prices nationally have increased by 83.8% from their trough in early 2013. Dublin residential property prices have risen 91.8% from their February 2012 low, whilst residential property prices in the Rest of Ireland are 83.9% higher than at the trough, which was in May 2013. More

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    Help-to-buy scheme extended in Budget 2021

    The help-to-buy scheme for first time buyers was extended to the end of 2021 in the Budget on Tuesday.
    The scheme helps first-time buyers with the deposit needed to buy or build a new house or apartment with relief of the lower of 10% of the value of the property or €30,000 available.
    Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath signalled what he termed a “radical reappraisal on how we deliver housing.” in his Budget 2021 speech.
    Announcing a record level of funding for the Department of Housing – an increase of €773 million on last year – he said the Government will place a “much greater emphasis on building social and affordable housing.”
    He said his policy will deliver 9,500 social homes next year.
    The Stamp Duty Residential Development Refund Scheme due to expire on 31 December 2021 will also be extended to operations commenced by 31 December 2022.
    Stamp Duty Residential Development Refund Scheme provides for refund of a portion of the Stamp Duty paid on the acquisition of non-residential land where that land is subsequently developed for residential purposes.
    Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said that due to the impact on the sector of Covid-19, and also to certain issues that have been brought to his attention since its introduction, he is to make a number of changes to it this year.
    Apart from the extension to the expiration date, the time allowed between commencement and completion of a qualifying project is being extended by six months to two-and-a-half years.
    Michael McGrath allocated €110m for affordable housing and cost rental schemes in Budget 2021.
    Announcing the funding, the Minister said that thousands of people find themselves locked out of the property market due to high rents.
    He announced a total of €5.2 billion to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage next year.
    Mr McGrath said that an extra €500m would facilitate the construction of 9,500 new social housing units in 2021 and a total of 12,750 units will be added to the social housing stock.
    He said there would be €65m to fund deep retrofitting of social housing stock.
    Minister McGrath promised an additional €22m to support homelessness programmes and the introduction of a cold weather initiative.
    He said a basic need in life is to have secure place to live and he said that for too many people in Ireland that need remains unfulfilled.
    Tackling homelessness was a top priority for Government, he said.
    Minister McGrath said that the country was able to deliver public housing when it was much poorer than it is today, and he said they would do this again.
    He said the Land Development Agency would play an important role in the Government’s affordable housing strategy into the future.
    The Minister said that the agency would have over €1.2bn of funding to progress the range of projects already under way.
    Responding to the Budget 2021 announcement, Dr David Duffy, Director of Property Industry Ireland (PII), the Ibec group for businesses working in the property sector, said: “Property Industry Ireland welcomes the commitment in the Budget to housing and capital spending.
    “The reference by Minister McGrath that the housing crisis will be solved through both public and private delivery of housing is positive. PII also welcomes the announcement of an Affordable Purchase Shared Equity Scheme for first time buyers.
    “While the budget allocated will mean that it will have limited impact on making more homes available, PII is ready to engage with the Department of Housing on the structure of the scheme to ensure that families can be in new homes as soon as possible.” More

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    Residential property prices fall by 0.5% nationally

    Residential property prices decreased by 0.5% nationally in the year to July, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office.
    By contrast was no change in the year to June and an increase of 2.2% in the twelve months to July 2019.
    In Dublin, residential property prices saw a decline of 1.3% in the year to July – house prices decreased by 1.2% and apartments increased by 0.4%. The highest house price growth in Dublin was in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown at 1.3%, while Dublin City saw a decline of 2.7%.
    Residential property prices in Ireland excluding Dublin were 0.2% higher in the year to July, with house and apartment prices up by 0.3%. The region outside of Dublin that saw the largest rise in house prices was the South-West at 4.3% – at the other end of the scale, the South-East saw a 1.6% decline.
    Overall, the national index is 17.7% lower than its highest level in 2007. Dublin residential property prices are 22.7% lower than their February 2007 peak, while residential property prices in the Rest of Ireland are 20.2% lower than their May 2007 peak.
    Property prices nationally have increased by 83.5% from their trough in early 2013. Dublin residential property prices have risen 91.4% from their February 2012 low, whilst residential property prices in the Rest of Ireland are 83.6% higher than at the trough, which was in May 2013. More

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    No increase in Local Property Tax bills for 2021

    Taxpayers will not have to face increased Local Property Tax bills for 2021 after the Finance Minister decided to defer the valuation date for the tax from November this year to November next year.
    Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said that as with many aspects of the economy, the pandemic has introduced volatility into the residential property market.
    Mr Donohoe said he was also conscious of the need to allow sufficient time for the Revenue Commissioners to introduce the necessary changes to the LPT regime before any new valuation date.
    “Consequently I have decided to defer the valuation date from November 1, 2020 to November 1, 2021. With this new valuation date, there will be no change in LPT liabilities until 2022 at the earliest,” Mr Donohoe said.
    New homes purchased since since the introduction of the tax in 2013 have been exempt.
    The Minister said he will bring forward proposals for primary legislation to implement the Programme for Government commitments on LPT in early 2021.
    He said these proposals will be designed to ensure fairness and that most homeowners will face no increase in their LPT liabilities.
    They will also bring new homes, which are currently exempt from the LPT or outside of the tax, into the taxation system.
    “I will also seek to promote the other policy objectives that I consider should underpin the tax, ie protecting the overall LPT yield; maintaining the tax base with a small number of exemptions and upholding the progressivity of the tax,” Mr Donohoe added.
    A review into the property tax was undertaken in 2015 but no changes have been made since. More