House prices, credit & supply: Lessons from Ireland s recent past. Ronan Lyons TCD Policy Institute event, June 10 th 2014

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1 House prices, credit & supply: Lessons from Ireland s recent past Ronan Lyons TCD Policy Institute event, June 10 th 2014

2 Is all analysis of Irish housing doomed? David McWilliams, A sneaking sense of déjà vu, May 19, 2014 The housing market in Ireland is driven by deep psychological urges on the part of most Irish people, which renders the old-fashioned laws of supply and demand not just obsolete, but dangerously inaccurate. 2

3 1980Q1 1982Q4 1985Q3 1988Q2 1991Q1 1993Q4 1996Q3 1999Q2 2002Q1 2004Q4 2007Q3 2010Q2 David is both wrong and right He s wrong: we can actually analyse the housing market He s right: we need to incorporate human factors, in particular expectations In other words, we need the right definitions of supply and demand 400, , , , , , ,000 50,000 0 A model of Irish house prices Actual Fitted 3

4 What determines Irish house prices? Two sets of factors that affect Irish house prices Fundamentals Income per household captures wages, unemployment Supply measured in value (per HH), not volume Demographics number of people per household Asset considerations User cost, real interest rate expectations about future changes in prices [+/-20%] drown out nominal interest rates Credit conditions ease of getting a mortgage, e.g. typical loan-to-value for first-time buyers 4

5 Annual change in house prices Understanding the Irish bubble and crash 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% -5% -10% -15% Residual Short-run dynamics Transaction cost Real interest rate Credit conditions Demographics Income, supply -20%

6 Separate legacy issues Negative equity, arrears: Excess supply of credit (nationally) Ghost estates: Excess supply of housing (in wrong areas) 6

7 2007 q q q q q q q q q q q q q q q1 Year-on-year change Current trends in prices and rents 15% 10% 5% 0% -5% -10% -15% Dublin prices Dublin rents Ex-city prices Ex-city rents -20% -25% 7 Source: Daft.ie

8 Why are prices rising now? Three main explanations of why house prices can rise A house price boom Incomes rising are incomes rising 10% yr/yr in Dublin? A house price bubble Looser credit conditions are banks lending at higher LTVs to first-time buyers in Dublin only? A house price spike Lack of supply are there not enough properties for people to buy? Whatever is explaining it, it must vary significantly by region to account for geographic differences 8

9 Dublin Other cities Leinster Munster Conn- Ulster National Dublin Other Leinster Munster Conn-U 3m supply in Dublin vs. 3y in Connacht Average number of transactions per month, # months supply on the market, Jan / Jan-13 Jan-14 9 Source: Daft.ie, Residential Property Price Register

10 Dublin completions ~1/10 th last recession 10% 9% 8% 7% 6% 5% 4% 3% 2% 1% 0% Completions of new dwellings, as % of existing stock Dublin Other Cities Leinster Munster Connacht-Ulster 10 Source: Census , DoECLG

11 Not a bubble yet Expected 1-year house price change 8% 6% 4% 2% 0% -2% -4% -6% -8% -10% -12% 2011q4 2012q4 2013q4 2014q1 National Dublin Ex-Dublin % stating that shortage of properties will drive house prices 100% 90% 80% 2012q4 2013q4 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% National Dublin Ex-Dublin 11 Source: Daft.ie Sentiment Surveys

12 Supply is about revenue and costs So, house price increases are neither a bubble (credit) nor a boom (income) but instead due to lack of supply But why is supply of new homes so low? Ultimately, the construction industry is about profit, i.e. revenues less costs Revenues are about prices and rents Are these too low? Costs are about wages, profits, materials, land costs and regulation Which of these are contributing to the lack of supply? 12

13 2008Q1 2008Q4 2009Q3 2010Q2 2011Q1 2011Q4 2012Q3 2013Q2 2014Q1 Market is at limits of affordability Estimated price-income ratio 4.8 National Dublin 4.6 Ex-Dublin q4 2012q4 2013q4 2014q1 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Average West Dublin rent, as fraction of av monthly wage 13 Source: Daft.ie Sentiment Surveys

14 Answer must lie on cost side Materials Largely world prices Small scope for savings Capital The residual factor Flows in if numbers stack up Labour Concerns about wage levels Large enough to matter? Space Cost of land and of permission to build E.g. of 60k per unit where value is ~ 215k 14

15 Permit costs and efficiency of stock First issue is level and transparency of permit costs Developers say that to build near new Luas would cost 60k per unit in various charges A two-bed apartment in Stepaside is currently worth 215k Why should only new residents pay for Luas? Greater transparency needed on per-unit permit costs As the greatest small nation in which to do business, Ireland needs to target efficient regulatory burden Second issue is use of existing stock, empty nesters As Housing Agency research shows, no shortage of family homes many occupants are not families though Carrot & stick: can get them to consider move but where? 15

16 Not just greenfield need best-use policy Third issue is lack of brownfield redevelopment Ireland s most expensive Monopoly areas comprise about 400 acres Why do Dublin Bus and RTE own 40 acres of some of Ireland s most valuable residential land? Elm Park golf course has another 90 acres! 16

17 Currently last use not best use Dublin Bus core route map and depots 17

18 Incentives & need for joined up taxation Train station DCU Green space ~150 acres Phoenix Park Terminus of X-city Luas O Connell St (1 km) 18

19 Fractured policy system Responsibility for housing policy is currently shared across a number of Government organisations Departments of Environment, Finance, Central Bank, Justice/PRSA, Taoiseach, plus Housing Agency, An Bord Pleanala, local authorities, etc Unsurprisingly, a large number of policies, policy statements, strategies, plans Housing Czar, rather than a Super-Junior Minister? Principal policy target should be reducing cost of building a new home 25% by certain date (e.g. June 2015) The World Bank Doing Business style of doing business 19

20 Fractured taxation system Also unsurprisingly, given number of parties involved, large number of taxes, levies, charges, contributions, fees, etc Time to connect up fiscal and planning systems Could replace stamp duty, rates, LPT, development contributions, windfall tax, etc., with single unified land tax After all, society creates the value why not claim some of it back? Striking the right balance between planning (top-down preferences) and the market (bottom-up preferences) 20

21 Thank you I look forward to comments and discussion 21

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