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Housing: Ireland should 'look at how European cities have regulated investment funds'

Ireland should look at how some European cities have regulated investment funds to stop them from...
Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

15.46 8 May 2021


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Housing: Ireland should 'look...

Housing: Ireland should 'look at how European cities have regulated investment funds'

Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

15.46 8 May 2021


Share this article


Ireland should look at how some European cities have regulated investment funds to stop them from buying up housing stock. 

That's according to Professor Padraic Kenna, Director at the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway.

It follows controversy over the news that the bulk of houses in a new estate in Co Kildare had been purchased by investment funds.

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Just 22 out of 174 new homes in Mullen Park in Maynooth were available for first-time buyers, with the remainder being purchased by an investment trust.

Speaking on The Home Show, Prof Kenna explained why investment funds purchase housing and what can be done to solve this problem in Ireland.

"There's a global wall of money out there and basically these bundles of money are looking for a home where they get something more than 0% or 0.5% returns," he said.

"Ireland at the moment is one of the most attractive places, we have a booming economy, we have good prospects, we have a very liberal regime around this area, we have big tax advantages and of course this all leads to the situation where we've had €4bn invested in this type of housing and it's a big problem.

Housing: Ireland should 'look at how European cities have regulated investment funds'

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Firms coming to Ireland to build-to-rent or buy-to-rent "are not charities" he added, "so when we say we want them to come in to build our houses, they're not coming in because of the goodness of their hearts".

He continued: "They're coming in because of very cold, calculated decisions, that Ireland, especially Irish cities, and especially Dublin, is a city that's part of a chain of global cities that has rising land prices and asset prices, has a mobile, well-educated population, and has small household sizes.

"The central question is, surely if we're increasing supply this will filter down and more people will be able to access affordable housing and there will be more affordable housing available.

"For some strange reason that doesn't seem to have happened, one of the reasons is that housing markets aren't like other markets.

"Actually, the opposite happens with housing, when more houses are produced, prices seem to go up because everybody wants to get in there as an investment.

Prof Kenna believes this is not just an Irish problem, and that we need to look to other countries to examine how to solve the issue here.

"This problem exists in all the main cities in Europe," he said.

"The answer has to be some way international and my solution is to look at what other cities have done, look at what Barcelona is doing, look at what some of the German cities are doing, they're regulating these funds."

This increased regulation is beginning to work in those European cities, as is the increased taxation on the funds by the German government, he added.

Main image: Mullen Park estate in Maynooth, Co Kildare. Credit: Eamonn Farrell / RollingNews.ie

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