Friday 23 March 2018

Revealed: The seven types of housebuyer

Photo: Aidan Crawley
Photo: Aidan Crawley
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

AN estimated €2bn in cash was spent on Irish residential property in the last three months of 2014.

But who has this sort of money, and why have they waited until the last five months to spend it?

The Irish Investor

A breakdown of cash purchases in 2014 from Savills shows that by far the biggest group of cash buyers were investors - 49.7pc of hard money purchases.

Many were wealthy Irish people either buying on their own with money salted away in the bank, from the proceeds of cashed in shares, sold businesses or accumulated funds with small consortia.

Those not often predisposed to property investment may have been convinced by the Central Bank's clampdown on mortgage lending.

Wealthy people with cash soon realised that couples in Dublin who had already struggled to save deposits to buy homes would now be condemned to many years more in rental accommodation. This would only push up rental yields.

The Vulture Funds

Swooping in from all over the world, but particularly from the USA, are the so-called "vulture funds" who descend on any crashed property market to hoover up the best prospects at rock bottom prices.

With NAMA still flogging off entire blocks of apartments, the vulture funds have been feeding hard. They buy an entire block, scrub it up, ratchet up the rents and sit on it for between one to five years before selling on at a profit.

Boom / Bust Smarties

When we remember the outrageous prices paid for homes during the boom we forget that for everyone who spent a headline €2m or €3m on a trophy home at the top of the market, there was a canny vendor who trousered that cash.

By early 2013 they could buy two of the houses they sold for €1m in 2006 and still have change left over. The more cautious among them will not have committed then for fear that the early price rallies wouldn't last.

Then, last year, rents began to rise in earnest - pushing them from their rented homes into the purchase market for the first time in six or seven years.

The Returned Emigrant

When the economy tanked, tens of thousands of graduates and highly educated young people fled these shores for Canada, the USA, Australia, the UK and elsewhere. In these largely busy economies they have flourished and saved their cash hard with a steely eye on the star prize, a house in Ireland at the cheapest prices in a generation.

With unemployment now down to just over 10pc and many new job prospects here, many have returned with suitcases of cash in hand.

Then there's a much older group returning here having sold a house in their adapted country and with cash to splash.

The Down Sizer

Savills says that those trading down accounted for 17pc of cash purchases last year. It's probably the best time to trade down since the crash. Michael Grehan of Sherry FitzGerald said: "The property the vendor is downsizing from has increased in value disproportionately to the property they will be moving to."

The Up-Trader

While it's a good time to trade down, increasing prices mean it's getting harder and harder to trade up, putting pressure on those who planned to do so.

Prices increased in Dublin by 20pc last year which might have been enough to convince those who wanted to make that move to do it sooner rather than later. Savills found 20pc of cash buyers in Dublin and Cork last year were up-traders.

They sold a smaller home and have savings to cover the extra rung on the ladder, but if they wait any longer, they won't make that gap.

The Developer

The smallest category, given that most were hammered in the crash.

Small developers who have turned around a number of properties - taking on wrecks and doing them up - have now made enough profit to buy their next project house with cash. They accounted for 2.3pc of cash purchases in 2014.

Irish Independent

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