Friday 21 September 2018

Eight signs the boom is back: From property to return of the pricey pint

Dublin skyline.
Dublin skyline.
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

ECONOMISTS have several ways of measuring a booming economy – but it’s not hard to spot the stand-out signs. From pay hikes to rising employment and property prices to the price of a pint, there are signals that the boom is back.

1. Property prices

The most obvious sign the economy is again in the grip of an unsustainable boom is the price of property. Even though they are not quite at peak levels, house prices have rocketed 50pc since their lowest point in 2013. Queues for new homes are also a returning phenomenon. Earlier this month, prospective buyers queued for several days at Beechwood Heath before the properties even went on sale.

2. Eye-watering rents

Average rents in the capital are now higher than in the Celtic Tiger era. Figures released in March showed it costs more than €1,500 to rent a property in the capital.

3. The skyline is dominated by cranes

There was hardly a building crane to be seen after the financial crash as developers crumbled and bank lending was paralysed. Now the capital’s skyline is full – there were some 71 visible on Dublin’s skyline on March 1.

4. Wage increases and rising employment

The Central Bank has said we are all due a pay rise. By the end of next year 99,000 more people will be in work and average pay is set to rise at a rate equal to around €50 a week.

The number of unemployed is also at its lowest level in a decade at 6.1pc.

5. Immigration – the return of the lost generation

While hundreds of thousands left these shores in the grips of the recession, from April 2012 to April 2016 some 100,000 have returned.

6. Traffic, traffic and more traffic

More people are at work so there are more cars on the roads, which means longer commutes. The average commuting time in April 2016 has increased to 28.2 minutes, up from 26.6 minutes in 2011.

7. The pricey pint

Just as people begin to head out and celebrate their new pay rises, so too has the price of drinks risen. One Dublin pub has been known to charge up to €8 for a single pint of lager.

8. After-work drinks

While we all scrimped and saved during the recession, a burst of sunshine this week saw beer gardens packed to the rafters with revellers as they enjoyed after-work drinks. As the late former finance minister Brian Lenihan said of the last boom: “We all partied.”

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