Thursday 17 April 2014

Abbey set to build homes for first time since property crash

Listed home builder Abbey is teeing up its first new housing development in Ireland since the market collapsed.

Ireland's only stock-market quoted builder has bought a south Co Dublin site at Shanganagh, Shankill, and has already obtained planning permission for 21 houses, the company confirmed to the Sunday Independent.

Preliminary works were said to have started and building will begin in 2013.

"It is the first significant residential build in years," said Ivan Gaine, new homes director at Sherry Fitzgerald estate agent. "But the market is there, in urban centres. There has been better take-up on standing stock this year than any of the last five or six years," he said.

Capital gains tax exemptions on new-residence buys and the transparency brought to the market by the Residential Property Register had helped, he said.

Abbey reported €5.95m in pre-tax profits for the past six months to October – more than doubling on the same period the previous year but driven mainly by interests abroad rather than here. Turnover was €37.05m.

Last year it sold just 21 houses in Ireland, mainly at a legacy Co Wicklow development that was started pre-2008. New home-build numbers are down almost 90 per cent since 2007. Property website estimates that potential new build demand is circa 30,000 houses a year in a normal, functioning market.

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