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Government under fire over investment fund activity in housing market

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The Government came under increasing fire on Wednesday as Opposition parties seized on reports that entire new-build housing developments were being bought up by institutional investors as evidence of the failure of the Coalition’s housing policy.

In the Dáil, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald accused Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael of “rolling out the red carpet” for investment funds with “sweetheart deals” of no corporation tax or capital gains tax and only minimal stamp duty.

Claiming Government policy is depriving first-time buyers of the opportunity to own their own home, she said “people scrimp and save to buy a home but investment funds swoop in to push that away from them”. She said funds with a “war chest” of up to €1 billion can gazump any buyer “because Government allows them to”.

Labour’s Duncan Smith told the Taoiseach that first-time buyers were losing out to “cuckoo funds” on second-hand as well as new properties.

Later, the Labour Party said that it would reintroduce a Bill first proposed by now Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien when he was in opposition in 2019 to reserve 30 per cent of new estates for first-time buyers. Senator Rebecca Moynihan said her party would introduce Mr O’Brien’s “own Bill, word for word”.

Social Democrats leader Catherine Murphy demanded a change in the law on investment funds and said every TD would sit in the Dáil for a weekend if necessary to pass legislation overnight: “We have to pass legislation to stop this.”

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are “creating a tenant class the likes that has been not been seen in Ireland since landlord times. The FF/FG housing market is pitting Reits [investment funds] against families on a daily basis in a David versus Goliath battle where there can only be one winner.”

Government Ministers and TDs are increasingly alarmed that they are politically exposed on the housing issue as the pandemic recedes. The issue is also causing tension between the two main Government parties.

Young adults

At Wednesday night’s Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting, Dublin South West TD John Lahart said young adults are returning “in droves” to their parents’ houses. He said if Covid was not a factor, they would be on the streets protesting and that he would be with them. He said the Government is “drowning in the shadows of Fine Gael housing policy”.

Mr Lahart also supported a call from Dublin Bay South TD Jim O’Callaghan to consider amending the Affordable Housing Bill so that buyers could only purchase a single property each.

Mr Lahart criticised Strategic Housing Developments (SHD), large scale housing projects that go directly to An Bord Pleanála for approval, which he said was a “failed policy” of Simon Coveney and Eoghan Murphy, the two previous ministers for housing before the current Coalition took power.

Mr O’Brien said the issue of global property funds mass purchasing estates was a “legacy issue” which was happening before Fianna Fáil came into Government.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Financial Services Seán Fleming told the meeting that tax incentives need to be examined and that planning laws should also be changed to restrict the bulk buying of houses. He said funds buying up full estates represent “social engineering”.

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Two teenagers died after separate incidents in Dublin and Waterford

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Two teenagers have died after separate incidents in Dublin and Waterford on Wednesday.

Gardaí in Ballyfermot responded to a call at an equestrian centre at Tay Lane, Co Dublin, at about 2pm.

Dublin Fire Brigade and the National Ambulance Service attended the scene and provided medical assistance to a 15-year-old girl who was injured during an exercise event.

She was removed to Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin, where she later died.

Gardaí said the coroner has been notified. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has also been notified and will carry out an examination on Thursday.

Gardaí said investigations are ongoing. A file will be prepared for the Coroner’s Court.

Separately, gardaí and emergency services attended the scene of a workplace accident in Dungarvan, Co Waterford on Wednesday afternoon.

A boy was pronounced dead at the scene.

The HSA has been notified and will carry out an investigation. A file will be prepared for the coroner.

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Tritax EuroBox acquires Swedish logistics property for €47m

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Tritax EuroBox continues to expand its presence in the Swedish market with a €47m acquisition. The asset held freehold has a total gross internal area of approximately 28,900m² and comprises two purpose-built logistics facilities (one of 16,200m² and the other 12,700m²), located in the heart of the prime logistics location in the Port of Gothenburg. 

 

The Port of Gothenburg has been ranked as the most attractive logistics location in the Nordics for 20 years by Intelligent Logistik, the leading Nordic logistics media platform. There are currently no vacant logistics buildings in the port area. The Port is home to Scandinavia’s largest container terminal, which is forecast to grow over the coming years. The buildings are fully let to Agility AB, Nordicon AB and Vink Essaplast Group AB, generating a total annual rent of €1.79m on leases with a weighted average unexpired lease term of six years.  The rent reflects a rate of €62.50psm per annum.  All leases are annually indexed to 100% of Swedish CPI.

 

Nick Preston, Fund Manager of Tritax EuroBox, commented: “We are delighted to acquire our first asset in the Nordics which aligns with our disciplined investment approach and our long term strategic goals. The asset held freehold is located in the region’s strongest logistics market and offers asset management upside through working closely with the occupiers to achieve their business plans and increase rents to market levels. We expect to see continued strong market rental growth in the Port of Gothenburg, due to the natural constraint of land supply in the port area, and the increasing demand from occupiers. The Port of Gothenburg has a clear plan for growth, with significant infrastructure investment committed, further strengthening this location.”

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Flat in mansion block once home to TS Eliot for sale for £995,000

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Poet’s corner: One-bedroom flat in the Kensington mansion block once home to TS Eliot is for sale for £1million

  • The flat is part of an impressive red-brick mansion block in London’s affluent Kensington
  • The one-bedroom flat in Kensington Court Gardens is for sale for £995,000 via estate agents Marsh & Parsons
  • The average value of a home in Kensington is £1.97million compared to £329,735 nationally, says Zoopla

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A one-bedroom flat in the building that includes the former home of TS Eliot has gone on the market for just shy of £1million.

The flat for sale in London‘s affluent Kensington is part of a red brick mansion block where the poet once lived.

It is called Kensington Court Gardens and has a blue plaque on the exterior highlighting its famous literary former resident.

While TS Eliot lived in the same building, he did not live in this specific flat for sale which has a price tag of £995,000, reflecting its location in one of London’s most expensive areas.

The flat for sale is part of a red-brick mansion block in London's affluent Kensington and comes with a price tag of £995,000

The flat for sale is part of a red-brick mansion block in London’s affluent Kensington and comes with a price tag of £995,000

Modern interiors: The Kensington flat for sale has a good-sized living room with tall ceilings and cornicing

Modern interiors: The Kensington flat for sale has a good-sized living room with tall ceilings and cornicing

The mansion block was originally built between 1887 and 1889 and is a stone’s throw from Kensington High Street.

It has good access to public transport, including to Kensington High Street underground station.

The open green spaces of Kensington Gardens, Holland Park and Hyde Park are also within easy reach.

Thomas Stearns Eliot is shown to have lived and died at the property via one of London’s blue plaques, which link the people of the past with the buildings of the present. 

The large reception room at the flat is ideal for entertaining with space for a dining table and separate seating area

The large reception room at the flat is ideal for entertaining with space for a dining table and separate seating area

The building has a blue plaque on the exterior highlighting its famous former resident who lived and died at the property

The building has a blue plaque on the exterior highlighting its famous former resident who lived and died at the property

TS Eliot was born in 1887 on September 20 and was best known as a poet and playwright.

He was born in Missouri, but moved to England in 1914 and become a British citizen in 1927.

TS Eliot first attracted widespread attention for his poem, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock in 1915.

It was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, Ash Wednesday and Four Quartets.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948 for his outstanding contribution to poetry.

Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in 1887 on September 20 and was best known as a poet and playwright

Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in 1887 on September 20 and was best known as a poet and playwright

The spacious and light one-bedroom flat is being sold via estate agents Marsh & Parsons in Kensington

The spacious and light one-bedroom flat is being sold via estate agents Marsh & Parsons in Kensington

The Kensington flat for sale has a large living room with tall ceilings and cornicing, along with a separate kitchen.

There is also a walk-in shower room and a double bedroom with some built-in storage.

Barney Goss, of estate agents Marsh & Parsons in Kensington, which is handling the sale, said: ‘Kensington Court Gardens has a fantastic literary connection – the building used to be home to TS Eliot – and is in an amazing position just south of Kensington High Street and a short walk away from Kensington Gardens.

‘With high ceilings and period features throughout, the property presents an excellent opportunity for a buyer looking to live in a historic, prestigious address in a prime London location.’

The flat has a separate kitchen with white base and wall units, alongside a dark worktop and space for appliances

The flat has a separate kitchen with white base and wall units, alongside a dark worktop and space for appliances

Making an entrance: The main hallway in the impressive mansion block helps to make a good first impression

Making an entrance: The main hallway in the impressive mansion block helps to make a good first impression

The average price of a property in Kensington is £1,970,090, compared to the national average of £329,735, according to property website Zoopla.

Tom Parker, of Zoopla, said: ‘This property would make the perfect home for a buyer looking for city living that provides easy access to green spaces.

‘Located moments from bustling Kensington High Street with its many shops and restaurants, the apartment is also within walking distance from Kensington Gardens, Holland Park and Hyde Park.

‘Even better, it’s located in a building steeped in literary history as the place where famed poet T.S. Eliot lived and died.’

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