Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Property fire-sale!

Over the weekend, a property we have for sale on Queen St, Clonmel went on fire.
We suspect it was malicious. The property was vacant and had been broken into on a few occasions.

A large number of locals were inconvenienced as they were awoken and evacuated from their houses as a safety precaution at midnight by the Gardai, as the Fire Brigade tried to limit the spread of the fire.

The fire was so intense it melted the nearby traffic lights!
Thankfully, no one was injured, though the house is now probably due for demolition.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Action and reaction – Property values and bank shares

One of the immutable laws of the Universe is that “For every action, there is a reaction.”
Today, if further proof were needed, we witness again the folly of the Governments plan to saddle the tax-payer with the toxic liabilities of the banks and developers through the NAMA vehicle.
Bank shares have been rising steadily over the last few weeks and jumped by up to 10% today.
This article shows that post-NAMA, others value our banks as being cheap.
However, this is predicated on NAMA taking the toxic liabilities off the bank balance sheets at more than value...and dumping them on us!

When will this lot wake up?
Cowen is asleep and unable or unwilling to deal with the crisis in the country’s finances.
He seems to be in thrall to the Union lobby.
Lenihan is a barrister, yet is planning to construct the largest property investment company in the world...leveraging the entire country against the debt!
Coughlan...well the less said the better.
Unfortunately, the alternatives are asleep as well.
Instead of forsaking their 2 month holiday and asking for a recall of the Dail, Kenny and Gilmore prefer to “rest for the struggle ahead.”
Well here’s some news boys, the struggle has been going on for the rest of us since early 2008!

As a committed member of a democracy, I am concerned that the lack of leadership from anybody other than the bearded Union leaders will drive us towards social anarchy.
Perhaps we do need a benign dictator to get us through the next few years.
Without this, we may end up with a not-too benign version!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

July 2009 Viewing and Offer Figures

Following a fairly upbeat end to June, I am afraid to say that the momentum has not been maintained.

Like the current weather, just as things look to be getting better, they take a turn for the worse.

Any notion that finance was becoming more available seems to have been a temporary blip.

It is now harder to get finance for a property purchase than to get water in the middle of the Sahara.

It is hard to see how anything is going to sort the current situation.

NAMA will not work in my opinion.

Whatever “discount” the Govt. applies to the distressed loans will need to be made up in a cash injection in any event.

So we, the taxpayer, will end up paying full price for these “toxic assets”, which are really “toxic liabilities”!(See this article re same!)

That however, is a whole different blog-post.

This lack of finance has caused a number of Sale Agreed transactions to fall through.

It has also put a virtual halt to new viewers. Very few buyers are being approved for mortgage, so we are limited to the pool of potential buyers that have secured loan approval already.

This is a rapidly diminishing pool, as many approved 2 months ago are not being re-approved when reviewed and quite a few bought in June.

This is reflected in the figures. Both viewings and offers are down on those of June.

Year on year, viewings are near half of July 2008, although offers are slightly above 2008 figures, emphasising the focused approach taken by the current crop of value-seeking bidders.

July 2008: Viewings 94 Offers 24

July 2009: Viewings 50 Offers 26

Prices are way down on last year. At least 10% year on year and up to 20% since peak.

Plenty of people want to buy at these reduced prices. They see low interest rates. They are paying up to €10,000 a year in dead-money rent. Through no fault of their own, they are unable to get finance due to the current state of the banks.

Meanwhile, the Government is on holidays. The country is sinking further into the mire. The fundamental problems of the economy have not been addressed. We are being asked to pour up to €90 billion into the banks to support their errors over the past years. I have said before, let them fail! Set up a State bank and channel the money into that. The Civil Service cannot do a worse job than the current lot of bankers. Somehow, I don’t think a Cowen lead Fianna Fail have the stomach for that. Change is needed.

No light at the end of the tunnel yet!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cycling for fun-The Mountain Road

Those that know me will know that after family and work, my two main interests are horse-riding and cycling. Winter and Spring are for riding, but Summer and Autumn are almost exclusively devoted to the bike.

I am usually a solitary cyclist. I spend my working day assisting, cajoling, negotiating and advising other people, so I find it therapeutic to get out on the road by myself, with just the tarmac, weather and cycle-computer to deal with. South Tipperary and Waterford are beautiful counties and we are spoiled for choice regarding cycling routes. We have mountains, flats, country roads...any type of terrain for the cyclist to travel and experience the wonderful countryside we have.

I came to cycling late, I rode horses competitively when younger, so that took all my energies. I started cycling about 5 years ago to tackle a growing weight problem and stuck with it for the endorphins!

Fitting cycling in around a young family and a business is sometimes difficult. Daytime is devoted to business, night-time to family. I find that early morning is best for me. At this time of year, I am usually on the road at 6am and back home 7.30-8am.

One of my favourite spins is the Mountain Road, which rises from Clonmel to the top of The Comeraghs. Barry at Worldwide Cycles tells me that the “norm” is to do the climb section, starting at Hillview to the top in 20 minutes. Normal that is if you are 25, with not a care in the world except where your next date is coming from. Being 20 years older, and with plenty of “cares”, I reckon that if I can get to within 10% of that figure I will be fine. My current best is 22 minutes 30 seconds, so nearly there, but hard to crack!

I usually do a 10km loop to warm up and then attack the mountain. 22+ minutes and some pain later, I crest the top. Then onto the drops, tuck in, spin out the gears and drop as fast as gravity will take me through 2 small but scary bends without touching the brakes. Your adrenaline certainly pumps as your speed approaches 70km/h with nothing but ridiculously thin Lycra and questionable bike-handling skills between you and the tarmac. Early in the morning, the road is usually damp and as I approach the hairpin bend over the bridge flat out, I suddenly wish that I had feathered the brakes to ensure they work, not having touched them for the previous 25 minutes! There is a gap in the trees at the bridge, so the surface there has usually dried off, but I have had a few scary moments there. Worth it for the speed-rush though.

The weather can change enormously during the course of a ride, especially in the Comeraghs. Many times I have been fogged in above the Golf Club. A bit scary when you don’t see a car until the last minute, it means they probably don’t see you at all!

I then turn left down Comeragh Drive to Kilsheelan, over the River Suir, back into Co. Tipperary and on to Clonmel.

So there you have it, the Mt Rd spin. For those interested, leaving and returning to my house, it is just over 40kms, I cycle it in around 1hr 20mins and burn 1200-1300cals.
I fully intend to crack 22 minutes this month. Then onwards to 21!