HIBERNIA REIT ACQUIRES ANOTHER DUBLIN DOCKS PROPERTY - Hibernia REIT has acquired a 0.75 acre freehold site at 1-6 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2 for €17.75m in an off-market transaction, according to The Irish Independent.

The site, which fronts onto the river and adjoins Hibernia’s recently acquired Observatory Building, has existing planning permission for 102,000 sq ft net lettable of offices, 5,000 sq ft of retail space and three residential units and 34 parking spaces.

Hibernia’s Windmill Lane site and Hanover Building are immediately behind it and with the Observatory Building adjoining, the acquisition gives the company ownership of a full riverside quadrant in the South Docks area.

Kevin Nowlan, chief executive of WK Nowlan REIT Management Limited, the Investment Manager, said: “We have now assembled a full riverside block of property with exciting, planning-approved development opportunities in the vibrant and rapidly regenerating South Docks area.

"We are looking forward to progressing our plans and providing high quality central Dublin office space for tenants at a time when such space is in short supply.”


CASH BUYERS FALL IN PROPERTY MARKET – The Irish Times reports that cash buyers accounted for little more than one in three purchases in the property market in the second quarter of 2014, down from 50% the previous quarter.

The finding, which was made in the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland first Housing Market Report, would indicate that the level of cash transactions is beginning to moderate as mortgage availability is improving.

According to the report, which is based on a survey of property professionals across the country, the pace of sales activity levels in the property market (sales enquiries, sales agreed and sales completed) increased in the second quarter of the year.

About 22% of units covered in the report were purchased as buy to let or investment properties.

Simon Stokes, chair of the residential property group of the SCSI said that the increased sales activity levels identified in the report and the re-emergence of investors suggested an improvement in confidence in the property market.

However he warned that the lack of supply, especially in Dublin, remained a key issue.


BANKS ACCUSED OF MANIPULATING PROPERTY PRICES – The Irish Examiner reports on comments by the Irish Mortgage Holders’ Association’s David Hall, who said that leading Irish banks are intentionally manipulating the property market to improve their financial positions ahead of planned stress tests by the European Central Bank later this year.

Mr Hall claimed banks were withholding properties to drive up prices and, in doing so, were exacerbating supply shortage.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, he said: “We have now a property bubble that has been created by a lack of supply and with a lack of releasing of properties by banks... In circumstances where there’s an alleged supply issue and prices are increasing, why have the banks not released all those properties?” said Mr Hall.

“If you stimulate a market and there’s a supply and demand [issue]... you don’t withhold the supply with the clear intention of trying to manipulate the market to increase property prices so as when your stress test comes, you’re in better shape,” he added.

Spokespeople for Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks denied that properties were being withheld from the market, while a representative of Permanent TSB declined to comment.

Properties in possession of the bank are sold by private treaty through auctioneers or estate agents and as such were “fully available to the open market”, according to BoI’s spokesperson.


DRAGHI’S QE HINT TRIGGERS MARKET RALLY – The Financial Times reports that global markets rallied on expectations that the European Central Bank had moved a step closer to making billions of euros in asset purchases to jump-start the region’s economy.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300, which tracks the share prices of Europe’s biggest companies, rose 1.1% while Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 indices closed up 1.8% and 2.1% respectively.

The S&P 500 broke through the 2,000 barrier, touching an all-time high. It ended at 1,998.

Investors bullishness followed comments by ECB President Mario Draghi at the central bankers’ Jackson Hole summit in Wyoming last weekend that the ECB could use “all the available instruments”, widely assumed to include asset purchase, to stabilise prices.

He acknowledged that a key measure of markets’ euro zone inflation expectations, which track how investors see inflation over a five-year period beginning five years from now, dropped below 2% - the lowest since the euro zone crisis.