Vancouver Commercial Real Estate Podcast

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November 30, 2022
VCREP #76: Is There a Tougher Real Estate Market Than Vancouver? with Daniel Eagling

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Ever wonder what is happening in the real estate world across the pond? This week, Cory and Melisa welcome Daniel Eagling from Cairn Homes all the way from Ireland to discuss how inflation, interest rates, and supply chains are affecting their market.

Dan walks us through the challenges their market and the neighbouring European markets are having, the strain on supplies, and the tightening of the rental market heading into 2023. You may be surprised to hear how similar the challenges are between Europe and Vancouver, and how they are managing to deal with future housing issues.

It’s a great eye opener to see how they are moving through the post-pandemic era into record-setting inflation and skyrocketing interest rates in a similar real estate world that we deal with.

Vancouver Real Estate VS Ireland Real Estate: Which Market Is Tougher?

Is there a tougher real estate market than Vancouver? Find out when we compare Vancouver real estate and Ireland real estate with Dublin-based Development Manager, Daniel Eagling!

Insights from a recent BMO webinar about interest rates in 2022, 2023 and 2024:

These are hypothetical scenarios but at the BMO webinar they thought interest rates might be higher at the end of 2023 than they are at the end of 2022. Right now, the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate is 3.75 and there’s a meeting coming up on December 7th. The prediction is a raise of 50 basis points, bringing us up to 4.25%.

The BMO scenario talked about a 4.5% interest rate by the end of 2023, so rates could still be going up. Of course, there are a number of factors at play that could change that prediction. But overall, BMO believes interest rates will hold steady in 2023 and start to decrease in 2024

Who is Daniel Eagling?

I was living in Vancouver for 8-9 years working for Chard Developments. About a year ago, I moved over to Ireland with my family to my wife’s homeland. It’s a great opportunity for us to be close to family and travel around Europe.

I started working for Cairn Homes and have been here for just over a year now as a Development Manager. I’m working on one of our biggest projects with 500,500 homes over the next 10 years. It’s one of the largest greenfield sites left in Dublin. Shovels hit the ground in January and we’re very excited about it.

How is the permitting process in Ireland different from Vancouver?

The permitting timelines in Vancouver can drive you mental. Unfortunately, it’s not much better over here in Ireland. There are some different views but we also have some archaic rules in Ireland. The timelines are very similar once you get through all of the judicial reviews and information requests.

How do judicial reviews work in Ireland?

Anyone who has an issue with a project can raise a judicial review and the council will have to address it. It can be as simple as someone not liking the brick colour you’ve chosen. But that’s part of working over here.

For the most part, the general population is on board with development. We’re not doing anything outrageous. The tallest building we have in Dublin is 16 storeys, so we keep things low and sprawling.

How has inflation affected real estate in Ireland?

We’re seeing very similar issues due to inflation as you’re facing in Vancouver. The cost of materials is going through the roof. It’s interesting being part of the Eurozone but also being an island on our own. We have to import everything but we do have the buying power of the Eurozone.

The cost of living crisis is another huge obstacle in Europe and the UK. In Ireland, there’s an interesting way of going about mortgages. Before the 2008 crash, people could get 110% mortgages. So since then, there’s been a real restriction. They’re very strict on lending and only allow people to purchase at 3.5-4 times their household income. That makes prices very interesting.

In Dublin, prices are skyrocketing. But they can’t get too far out of touch since the lending is so strictly tied to household incomes. So housing is very much in demand and there’s a huge shortage; there was a period of about 12 years when nothing got built. We need 40,000 homes per year and are only hitting 26,000 if we’re lucky. There’s also a backlog of about half a million homes needed.

The demand is there but it’s just about finding the right price point. It’s harder and harder to hit that with rising inflation. So we’re having to get creative! The construction industry is booming but it’s a challenge to find the right balance.

The demand is there. The market is there. It’s just about trying to find the right price point. And as a developer, that’s becoming harder and harder to hit with the inflation coming in. So we’re getting creative! We have to change the way we build.”

In Vancouver, construction costs have gone up about 30% from last year. How are construction costs in Ireland?

We’re easily seeing a 30% increase in construction costs here in Ireland; some projects are seeing up to 50% higher costs. It’s not easy to turn around and still have the margins you need to meet.

What’s the price per square foot in Dublin?

We are seeing about €450 (apx $630 CAD) per square foot in a good neighbourhood. So that doesn’t seem too bad. But when you remember that your mortgage is capped at 3.5-4x your annual household income, a €100,00 salary only lets you borrow €350,000. The rest of the money you’d have to come up with yourself. You also need a minimum 10% deposit to buy a home in Ireland.

Median wage over here is about €36,000 per year. So that paints a very different picture; it’s not like Vancouver. We have a lot of 22-32 year olds who still live at home because they can’t get into the housing market.

There’s also a view over here that you don’t want to own an apartment. A lot of people bought apartments before the 2008 crash and are still holding onto them today, trying to get rid of them so they can buy a house. There’s not the same housing continuum over here. To be honest, it’s a missing market that I believe needs to exist.

Because of the mortgage restrictions in Ireland, do people put down more in cash in order to get into better homes?

It’s a very small percentage of the market that is putting down more in cash or going to the Bank of Mom and Dad. They do exist but we go into the market targeting first time home buyers and new immigrants. People want to live by their family so it’s hard to get them to move.

At the end of the day, you have to make sacrifices if you want to get into the market and buy a home”

How’s the rental market in Dublin?

If you had asked me 6-12 months ago, I would have said the rental market in Dublin is insane. For most new apartment developments, we’re looking to sell them to the PRS, Private Rental Sector. But with rising inflation and interest rates, the PRS market is looking more unsteady. The yields aren’t there for them.

Despite that, we do still have a strong rental market in Dublin that is propping that up. There are still great opportunities for multi-family investors. But as a developer, we’re questioning what the best move is in the short term.

What’s the real estate investment market like in Ireland? Are there mortgage restrictions for investors?

There is the ability for people to invest in the Ireland real estate market. Most of the time, the legal system is in favour of the tenants, which is quite similar to Vancouver. But there’s a mentality here that it’s too much of a hassle to have an investment property. You do get taxed quite high and you have to have a minimum 30% down payment on an investment property.

We have rent freezes in certain zones where rents can only be increased by a certain percentage. But there are opportunities out there and a massive need for rentals in Dublin. You just have to make sure the numbers work.

What are your thoughts on the Vancouver real estate market?

I’m definitely still invested in the Vancouver real estate market and very interested in it. I think the Vancouver real estate market is slowly changing and the true value of things is starting to show.

Coming from Sydney, Australia, we’ve seen plenty of dips that just ended up being plateaus. It’s hard to tell if that’s what is happening in Vancouver. Things may get tight but it will come down to what happens with interest rates. I don’t believe the cooling that we’re seeing right now will last longer than 12-18 months.

Both Dublin and Vancouver have very high demand for housing – the issue is just the ability to get into the market. It will be interesting to see how things level out.

The 6 Pack: Getting to Know Development Manager, Daniel Eagling

What is your favourite bar or restaurant?

In Vancouver, it would have to be Nook. I love Nook in the summertime when the windows are all open. Getting their gnocchi is one of the reasons I would come back!

Let’s say you’re on death row. What would your last meal be?

I think I just said it – it’s the gnocchi from Nook!

Favourite band or musician?

It would have to be Ed Sheeran.

What show are you currently binge watching?

On Netflix, my wife and I are binge watching Buying Beverly Hills. I can’t get away from those real estate shows and all their drama!

What is your go-to karaoke song?

This isn’t my go-to song but I was watching a rugby match the other weekend, Ireland vs Australia. Unfortunately, Australia lost and as the sole Australian fan in the crowd, I had to sing Waltzing Matilda in front of everyone. It was a lot of fun!

What is the best band to come out of Australia?

Midnight Oil is up there. Crowded House too.

Is Sydney as nice as it looks on the real estate shows?

Yes, it is. It’s a beautiful city. As my mom says, the sun is always shining and it’s always warm in Sydney. Which is a big change from when she would visit us in Vancouver or in Ireland.

Sydney is very much like Vancouver, but on a different scale. It’s busy and big. The beaches are part of everyday life. I highly recommend visiting Sydney if you haven’t been yet.

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Vancouver Commercial Real Estate Podcast

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This communication is not intended to cause or induce breach of an existing agency agreement. E&OE: All information contained herein is from sources deemed reliable, and have no reason to doubt its accuracy; however, no guarantee or responsibility is assumed thereof, and it shall not form any part of future contracts. Properties are submitted subject to errors and omissions and all information should be carefully verified. All measurements quoted herein are approximate.