Monday 7 December 2009

Michael Boyd elected as new chairman for REA

The appointment of Michael Boyd, Director of Boyd’s Real Estate Alliance in Kilkenny as Chairperson of the national property group and Patrick Riney of Orchard Real Estate Alliance of Rathfarnham as Vice-Chairperson took place on the 27th of November 2009.

“We have the experience to guide our clients through this”, said the incoming Chairman, Michael Boyd. “Our members are long-standing in their communities and have the expertise to get through these challenging times. We were never under any illusions that the property sector is cyclical. We have been through recessions before and come out the other side. Many of the Real Estate Alliance agents are lucky in that they are not overly dependent on the residential market, which has been hardest hit and as such they are busy doing valuations, rating appeals and giving professional services to our clients

REA welcome in a new era of high quality valuations

Real Estate Alliance, the national property group comprised of some of the country’s longest established estate agents, held their AGM in The River Court Hotel in Kilkenny, on Friday, 30th November. The whole area of how the banks are now taking a much more professional view of how valuations are been carried out were key items on the agenda as the group looked at what the year ahead may bring for the property sector. The appointment of Michael Boyd, Director of Boyd’s Real Estate Alliance in Kilkenny as Chairperson of the national property group and Patrick Riney of Orchard Real Estate Alliance of Rathfarnham as Vice-Chairperson were also ratified by the group.

Real Estate Alliance members met after one of their hardest years yet but found many reasons to be positive. There was 100% attendance by the members at the AGM, no agents left the group in 2009 and the Group has no debt. The Group have recently acquired large valuation contracts for banks, various litigation cases and a number of Government departments.

The banks were on everyone lips during the day as some of the country’s longest established estate agents agreed that because the whole area of credit assessment criteria has now to be taken seriously by the banks and a consequent of this, valuation standards will have to rise. Real Estate Alliance has been calling for Irish valuation standards to match international criteria for years. According to the incoming Chairman, Michael Boyd, “the impending NAMA regime should result in the valuation process being put at the central of the credit assessment system.

Monday 2 November 2009

Follow us now on Twitter

Real Estate Alliance is now in twitter. Follow us on

Windfall Tax will have a devasting effect on the market.

REA agents think the proposed 80% windfall tax will have a devastating effect on the Market for one off sites as well as for any proposed sale of land in the future close to towns/cities which could be developed.

Many people through no fault of their own have land close to towns frozen for proposed by-passes for 10 + years and now that could be subject to the 80% tax. They could have sold or developed it if it was not frozen.

As sure as night follows day, we will slowly come out of this recession and if the 80% tax stays it will drive up the price of houses again because land will not be released for sale because of punitive taxes.
The 40% capital gains tax of the 1980’s and early 90’s prevented the release of land for development so we can only speculate what will happen if the 80% windfall tax is introduced.

Hynes believes the worst in over and things are straightening out

"We've seen a steady improvement in house sales since the start of this year, particularly since last August and September," said Hynes. "Confidence is a bit better. People realise there's value to be had out there. Sales are thousands of times better than this time last year."

Hynes believes the property market went into recession about a year before the rest of the economy, and is more likely to recover before other sectors. "There is an upturn slowly coming through," said Hynes. "The worst of the downturn is gone."

Monday 12 October 2009

September activity increased slightly

Real Estate Alliance report slightly increased buying activity around the country in September, mainly among first time Buyers.REA’s Barometer of members shows 34 offices reports that 171 sales were agreed in September. This compared to 150 in March and 164 in April, spring months which provide comparative activity periods.
Of the latest sales agreed, 114 were for second-hand properties and 57 for new properties. According to CEO Eimer O’Keeffe, second-hand homes fared better because they tended to be in better locations. “However, it all comes down to price. The vendor for a second-hand property can be keener to lower its price to move into their new home so there is a lot of room here for negotiation”, she said.The total number of enquiries recorded by the 38 Estate Agencies within the group was 4560, an average of 120 per month. This demonstrates a 15pc increase compared to March 2009.
In terms of contracts signed, REA can report a total number of 165 contracts signed for September divided between 76 second-hand homes and 89 new homes. Ms O’Keeffe added; “There seems to be a positive shift with more viewers looking to buy, all under the €250,000 bracket. There is a marked improvement in activity in South West County Dublin. “Our agents in Rathfarnham, Orchard REA reported a 20pc increase in enquiries, five sale agreed and four contracts signed in September. According to Kevin Riney of Orchard REA, “prices are down by 50% and buyers know there is good value”.

Jeanne Walshe of Cumisky REA said the Balbriggan second-hand market is quite slow with properties priced above €200,000 experiencing difficulty. She said, “Purchasers have a huge range of options at great value and schemes such as Dun Saithne Green sold quite fast. Two bed there from €128,000 and three beds from €140,000 sold out in less than two weeks, with only four mid terrace units available.

Monday 5 October 2009

Has the economy paused your Redecorating plans?

Fear not, 10 Top “R” Tips to transform your home from the doom and gloom during this Recession.

In today’s economic downturn, cost cutting and drastic budgeting, all plans to redecorate our homes are put on the back burner for the time being. Just The thought of redecorating our home sounds crazy! In reality, redecorating our homes doesn’t need to cost a lot. All you need to do is plan wisely.

Make a plan today, pick a paint colour or throw out those old pictures tha­t are fading. Piece by piece, you'll get into the groove of t­urning the house into your designer home! Read more on NEWS section

Traffic up 30% on website since August

On our google analytics, we have noticed an increase in traffic to both our websites. Traffic is up by 30% on last month's traffic

Tuesday 7 July 2009

REA agrees a further 150 house sales in May

THE Real Estate Alliance Group agreed a further 150 house sales nationwide last month. But enquiry and viewing levels tailed off a little.
While sales agreed matched the previous month, the latest REA Property Barometer for the month of May shows that finalising deals remains a slow process with the figure for contracts signed at 114. REA chief executive Eimer O'Keefe reports that 4,000 enquiries were processed by the 38 group member firms around the country last month -- down five pc. The total number of viewings was down three pc at 1,350.
Ms O'Keefe noted that the level of enquiries are back to March levels, but pointed out that activity traditionally slows during the summer months.
REA members reported considerable evidence that the residential property prices are decreasing at a much slower pace in the last three months. Price decreases are near to static since March 2009. However, Real Estate Alliance agents can report an overall average decrease of 35% since June 2007 to now. There was evidence of a fall of 15% between Jan and March 2009 and a maximum of 5% decrease since March 2009. In some areas no decrease was reported for this period.

According to Eimer O’Keeffe, CEO of Real Estate Alliance, “Most locations saw an average decrease of 38% in the sale of New homes. Kilkenny, Bundoran, Navan, Kells, Ashbourne and Balbriggan all reported decreases of up to 40% in new homes prices since June 2007. Smaller decreases of around 25% were experienced in Leitrim, Cavan, Carlow, Nenagh, Killarney and Nenagh”

Tuesday 5 May 2009

Top Tips to survive the recession


It’s important to look beyond the short term to the medium and longer term:
n Stay positive about what makes your business great
n Stay positive about your passion for the business
n Stay positive about the future you will create for your business and yourself
n This will have a knock-on effect on other people in the business, your customers and your suppliers

n Ensure that what you offer is distinctive and that your customers are prepared to pay for that distinctiveness
n Hold fast to that distinctiveness and articulate it at every opportunity.
n Without it your offering will be treated like a commodity and you will come under severe price pressure
n Unique Selling Point Must be clear, unique, distinct and known!

n It might be tempting to reduce your prices to win business, you’re probably better off increasing prices, even if it means losing business
n Here’s why: if your gross margin is 20% and you drop your prices by 10%, you have given away half your profit. To achieve the same profit in € you have to generate twice as much revenue, that’s just not feasible, and to do so would probably mean taking on more staff and increasing overheads which would then probably need to be paid for before payment is received from the customer, resulting in cash flow shortages.
n If, on the other hand, you raise your prices by 10%, you will either make 50% more profit
n or you can afford to lose about a third of your sales volume while maintaining your current profit. You should then be able to reduce overheads too since you will be a smaller business.

n Some costs vary with the amount of sales volume while others are fixed irrespective of sales volume
n In times when sales volume is unpredictable, try to ensure that as many costs as possible vary with sales
n For example, costs of associates or sub-contractors are variable whereas the cost of employed staff tends to be fixed.

n At the same time, it makes sense to reduce fixed costs where you can
n Go through each cost in turn and ask yourself whether it could be reduced,
eliminated or done in a more flexible way

n Never is the saying ‘cash is king’ more pertinent than in a downturn
n Make sure you manage your cash very closely
n Make someone specifically responsible for it

n Get invoices out on time and do everything you can to ensure customers pay on time, from forging strong relationships with their accounts payable,to finding out when they do their payment runs
n Call them a week before the payment run to check your invoice is on the list
n At the outset of projects, negotiate a payment schedule that includes upfront and/or interim payments.

n It may be worth paying suppliers early to secure discounts - even if you have to borrow from the bank to do so
n Say, for example, the normal payment term for a supplier is 45 days, but that supplier agrees to offer a 2.5% discount for settlement within 10 days, the saving you will gain by making early payments is 26% per year
n The same considerations, but in reverse, apply to the discounts you allow your customers

n Do you know who they are?:
n Offer to partner with them – you are both in the same boat
n Suggest ways to help your customers to
n Save money at this time
n Make money at this time
n Be prepared to renegotiate contracts
n Give customers something extra free!

n Offer prospective customers choices
n Sell small at the start of new relationships
n Keep your sales message simple & clear –what’s in it for the customer?

n Deliver quicker
n Under-promise & over-deliver
n Train, train & train to be the best you can be at what you do!
n Like Barack Obama, create your own possibility!

First Time Buyers on the move

House sales activity perked up slightly in April with first time buyers to the fore, according to latest statistics from Real Estate Alliance.
A total of 164 residential sales were agreed by Real Estate Alliance members during the month, an increase on the figure for March.

The REA April Property Barometer reveals that the sale price remained at around €180,000 on average, some 85pc of the asking price sought. The total number of enquiries recorded by REA estate agencies within the group was 4,200; 5% better than in March.

“All REA agents are reporting an uplift in first time buyer interest and sales”, CEO Eimer O’Keeffe comments. “Offers are coming in for second hand houses, but mostly at well below asking prices. Vendors are still holding on to unrealistic expectations. They won’t accept prices at market level. On average, we are seeing prices around the country at 40pc of the level prevailing at the height of the market. In certain areas, apartments are down by 50pc and second hand houses are down by 35pc”.

Tuesday 7 April 2009

Sales inquiries up.

150 sales were agreed at the 38 REA offices throughout the country in March, with enquiries up 15pc on the month before.
REA chief executive Eimer O'Keefe reports 1,350 viewings in total over the month (35 per office). The average sale price achieved -- €180,000 -- was 90pc of the asking price and the average time it takes for a house to sell is now 20 weeks

Monday 30 March 2009

Real Estate Alliance, today issued a warning to the Government on the potential negative impact of a property tax. Members of the property group have warned against any property tax instead advocating a property market stimulus, which could increase Government tax takings from property activity. Taking steps to boost confidence in the property market, rather than undermine it with further tax burdens, will help to get the market moving again benefiting all.

Any form of property tax has the potential to impact negatively on an already delicate market. Especially as the government have already introduced a €200 property tax in the last budget, just 6 months ago. Continuing to beat this horse may result in crippling a market that is on the precipice of recovery the group stated.
Suggestions for a market stimulus package included abolishing or halving stamp duty on all residential property for a set period of one year. Many members were citing what happened when capital gains tax was reduced from 40% to 20% and believe that a similar impact could be seen in stamp duty if the right stimulus package could be found. A reduction in stamp duty combined with the Government’s

Monday 23 March 2009

First Time Buyers are ready to buy

The majority of this group are between 25 and 30 years old. 48% are renting while 31% live with their parents. 66% of those renting are paying between €600 and €700 per month. A large majority (68%) of these potential buyers want to buy in the next year and most are motivated by “seeing the right house”. 54% are buying alone and 41% are buying with a spouse or partner. Interestingly, most of them have no preference between a newly built or a second hand house. The most popular budget is between €200,000 and €249,000. Most of these buyers (54%%) are holding off buying because they believe prices will fall in the months ahead and 22% are have problems obtaining finance. A considerable number of this group (59%) haven’t applied for a mortgage yet. Most First Time Buyers feel that the Home Choice loans will have little effect on the market. 79% of First Time Buyers think there is value in buying a house at the moment. 37% believe that property prices will bottom out by mid 2009. Most First Time Buyers (35%) believe that house prices will decrease by 5% in 2009. The majority of First Time Buyers believe that building energy ratings will have no effect on house prices and most don’t agree with carbon taxing homes.

Tuesday 27 January 2009


With the expectation that prices are leveling out and the floor is forming in 2009, Real Estate Alliance agents expect to operate in a market with less speculation. Crucially, it seems that interest rates are going to reduce further. In fact, many anticipate that rates will fall close to 1.5% in Q2 2009. Coupled with the increase in mortgage interest relief for first time buyers, housing affordability will improve substantially in 2009. “These factors will combine to breathe confidence into the first time buyer market in the later part of 2009”, according to Paul Grimes, Chairman of Real Estate Alliance.

REA seeks buyer's perspective

Real Estate Alliance Seek Buyer’s Perspective
- National Property Group Launch Second Buyer Survey – February 2009 will see the results of the second Real Estate Alliance Buyer Survey, an exciting offering from the national property group that will reveal buyer attitude towards the property market. To be a part of the Real Estate Alliance Buyer survey and to be in with a chance to win a €500 Brown Thomas vouchers log onto or drop into your local Real Estate Alliance office.The Real Estate Alliance Buyer Survey, an extensive survey of the buying public around the country, will offer Real Estate Alliance members and their clients an insight into buyers currently active in the marketplace. The survey will target a cross-section of property purchasers including first time buyers, those trading up/down and investors, revealing invaluable information about their property requirements and priorities when it comes to purchasing.

Monday 5 January 2009

Banks need to pass on rates

“High EURIBOR rates have been cited by Irish banks as a reason why interest rate cuts have not been passed on in recent weeks and there must be firm measures made to encourage to the marketplace to re commence lending.” Said Healy Hynes of Hynes Real Estate Alliance, Athlone. In its 10-year history, the ECB has not cut rates below 2 percent, nevertheless Mr. Hynes is anticipating the ECB to drop rates at the January meeting seeing a target of 1.5% by mid-2009. “Although it was on the cards before this week, in light of the Feds historic move to a rate of 0.25%, the ECB only has one place to go, and that’s down”