The much heralded soft landing for the Irish property market is happening right now, according to the banks; the estate agents and Damien Kiberd. That being the case we have an opportunity here folks to witness something that has never, ever occurred in economic history, a soft landing after a prolonged period of rampant speculation in an asset class. So put on the kettle pull up a chair, make yourself comfortable and watch, a never to be repeated, inconceivable (until now) first.
But ah……before you get too comfortable in that chair, I have a confession to make (hangs head). It shames me to admit this but… when I first heard of the prophecy, that an economic miracle was to be bestowed upon this island, I was just a tiny weenie bit cynical. But not for long mind you. I know, I know. How I could possibly question a revelation bestowed on an assortment of estate agents, bankers and Damien Kiberd?. Please allow me to explain my fleeting moment of doubt. You see, I foolishly thought that the old rules of supply and demand still applied, I thought that the Irish were about as indebted as any nation could prudently get; and then some. I looked at the number of empty homes in the country (250,000) and thought, we have sufficient of the houses. Ha ha ha, I laugh now at my foolishness. Oh were it that that was the end of my irreligious uncertainty. You see I thought (don’t ask me why) that in the new ferociously competitive global economy that Ireland’s falling competitiveness would effect our ability to procure and keep high earning productive jobs, I thought that the liquidity gusher that is the Japanese Yen carry trade was unsustainable, I had a notion that rising interest rates and falling real incomes growth might hinder rather than help. I even looked at property markets abroad where prices are falling and mortgage lenders and estate agents are going bust, and thought (please don’t laugh) that this might be instructive.
But mercifully, thankfully I banished these wicked feelings that prevented me from seeing the blinding light that so fortuitously shone upon some bankers, Damien Kiberd and several estate agents. Verily they have been to the top of the market and they have seen the Promised Land (bank).
The only people busy in the Irish market at the moment are the FOR SALE sign makers. The lads have most of their stock sitting in gardens the length and breadth of the country. You see, when the market was busy they would stick up an agents FOR SALE sign then a few weeks later return and stick a SOLD slip over the FOR SALE bit and then after the new owners had moved in return one last time to remove the sign for good. Not anymore. The sign makers routine has been disrupted of late by the softly softly market . Its no longer erect sign, sold slip, remove sign, its more; erect sign, erect sign, erect sign, erect sign of another agent beside the one for the first agent that you put up couple of months ago.
The sign makers are busy making new signs, as their existing supply ineffectually just stands there, weathering.