Energy Prices

Consumers have been warned about rising energy prices. Many have been urged to beat immense energy price hikes by switching suppliers. According to new research from the energy regulator shows that house holders who actively switched electricity providers over the last four years have saved more than €1,000.

According to the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities, seven electricity suppliers announced that energy prices will rise in the next few months. The average increase in energy costs amounted to 5 percent for electricity and 13 percent for gas according to the commission for regulation and utilities.

Across the last four years, those who choose not to switch their suppliers for both electricity and gas suppliers over the last four years could have saved €1,700. The CRU claimed that savings made through changing electricity and gas suppliers 0r negotiating with a current supplier could have helped customers save on the recent raises in price. The CRU further described switching rates by consumers last year as “robust”. In other words consumers who took the advice to switch providers or negotiate with their current supplier …

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Childcare challenges

Having a child can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it is not without its challenges. For most people, it is a pivotal step towards full adulthood and requires a great deal of contemplation in regards to finances and time availability. 

The most recent census statistics have proven that having children is a common occurrence for young Irish adults, making Ireland’s under under-five population one of the highest in the 38 European Union countries that were examined; 398,000 children, or 7pc of the Irish population, is made up of young children.

A Eurydice report , published in 2019, focused heavily on examining early childhood education and care in European nations noted that Ireland is one of four countries to have extremely high child care rates, especially for those under the age of three. The other three countries with high costs are the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. 

This sheer number of children within Ireland comes as a somewhat shock to economists, who note that the costliness of childcare exceeds almost every other European country. There are a multitude of …

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High land prices keeps developers from supplying homes that are demanded

High costs of land is making developers unable to supply homes that are truly needed to solve the housing crisis. According to a leading developer, land prices specifically need to be reduced by 25% to 35% to meet Ireland’s real demand for housing.

The development company, O’Flynn Group is currently developing 1,600  new housing units across 11 sites in Dublin and Cork. O’Flynn Group’s chief executive, Michael Flynn stated that Ireland’s residential construction activity may be nearing a plateau. He reasons his statement because of restricting limits of supplying homes, ranging from mortgage lending limits to skill shortages in construction. Regulation serves as another limiting factor in supplying homes.

According to O’Flynn, the real demand for housing is twice the amount developers are able to deliver. He continues to denote that if artificial restrictions are not limited, and demand for affordable housing is not met than the housing crisis will only continue. Lastly, he noted that more households will be forced into the rental sector with out the hope of saving if the trends previously described continue.

O’Flynn was prompted …

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Public and private sector pay gap shrinks

The pay gap between workers in the public and private sector has always been significant, especially in Ireland. This divide is not common in many other countries in the European Union, which is why Irish government officials and economists have been extremely diligent in tracking the changes over time. Although there is usually a difference, Ireland has in the past decade faced a 46pc inequality; this was at the peak. 

In general, the Irish public sector has proven to be paying more and growing quicker than the private sector. This is interesting, given that the public sector is owned and operated by or within the federal, county or local governments.

 The private sector is companies that have no governmental ties, and allow the privately owned establishments to set their own wages; some examples of this are corporations, both in not for profit and profit, and partnerships. 

The Central Statistics Office reported in 2018 that state workers on average earned around €947 a week, which at the end of the year would total just around €49,390. People doing similar jobs in …

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May 2019 mortgage approvals offer high hopes

The mortgage scene is finally beginning to see some positive growth, especially for first time buyers. Recent figures have just been released for May 2019, which have shown substantial upward traction in regards to the approval of loans. 

The statistics indicated that there has been a 10pc increase in approvals when comparing May 2018 to May 2019. During May 2019, 4926 applications for loans were approved by at least one of the banks. Additionally, there was a 19.9pc increase from April to May of this year. 

Most of the approvals from May seem to have been heavily dominated by first time buyers, who made up 51pc. This demographic  is heavily marked to via social media and other online platforms. Additionally, banks advertise to this untapped market by offering exemptions that make getting a loan more affordable. 

This seems to have been effective, give that approvals are high for this month. If approvals are high, this indicated that there were also a very large number of first time buyer applications that the bank saw during the previous months. Mover purchases also …

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Ireland vs US: Where your taxes go

In the article Ireland vs US: Taxation , some of the differences between government mandated income tax in Ireland and the United States were highlighted. With multiple differences in how taxation occurs in each country, there are bound to be variations in how these funds are utilized. 

Additionally, because the United States and Ireland are nations that differ significantly in size and population, the total budget and how much of that comes from tax dollars will contrast significantly. In 2017, Ireland’s total expenditure was €69.1 billion; the United States spent $4 trillion. These differences in total expenditure make sense in some ways, given that Ireland is home to 4.804 million people, while the United States houses 327.2 million. 

Ireland’s three largest areas of spending within that year are Social Protection, Health, and Debt Servicing/ EU payments. €20.12 billion, 29.11pc of the total spending, funded Social Protection. Social protection encompasses the funding of many social welfare benefits that you must be eligible for to receive. There are many categories that fall under the social welfare umbrella including disability and illness, …

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Vulture funds and Ulster Bank

Ulster Bank has recently created a portfolio of €900 million of problem mortgages for sale. This portfolio includes an immense number in which borrowers had short term forbearance deals with Ulster Bank. Forbearance is a special agreement formed with a lender and borrower to delay a foreclosure. This occurs when mortgage borrowers are unable to repay according to terms and lender may choose to foreclose the property or asset.

Many of the affected borrowers for loan sales were engaged with the bank to secure least short term debt deals. However, Ulster Bank has claims that past customers who engages with the bank to make repayments of loans even on loans in the past are far less likely to see their loan sold to a vulture fund.

Vulture funds are generally private equity firms or a form of financing that is provided by firms to invest in properties that are performing poorly. These poor performance properties are likely to be undervalued and thus the vulture funds take advantage of the underestimated properties.

Private home mortgages on average in the current sale have …

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Ireland vs US: Taxation

The fourth of July is one of the most widely celebrated national holidays in the United States. In 1776 the Continental Congress declared that the 13 british colonies were to be free from the confines of British rule and would become a new, independent nation. Within the Declaration of Independence, there were 27 grievances against the current and former actions of King George III; Thomas Jefferson, an advocate for independence, wrote almost all of these. 

Grievance 17 focused mainly on taxation without representation, which to this day is still a widely supported part of the Declaration and Constitution. Although this outcome is supported by both US political parties, the amount of income that is taxed and what the taxed money is used for is highly contested.  

In the United States, taxation occurs at the local, state and federal levels. For income, the United States imposes a bracket system on the amount of income you earn. In 2018, the tax rate started at 10pc of total income until you were to earn above $19,050. Between the incomes of $19,050 and $77,399 …

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Both Political Parties are Pointing Fingers

The Increase of difficulty in attaining mortgages coupled with rising home prices has caused Ireland to have the lowest rate of home ownership in 50 years. The main group affected is young people looking to buy their first home who do not have enough money saved up to meet the 10% deposit required to attain a mortgage. Additionally, Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin stated, “a litany of failures,” when discussing how the increase of homeless children falls on the current government’s policies. Mr. Martin discussed how Ireland used to be one of the highest home ownership rates in the EU to now one of the lowest at 68%.

The government may be too complacent with policy or foreign multinational corporations are bringing in a lot of short-term employees who are looking for renting, but something needs to be done to increase home ownership following this statistic. Owning a home provides long-term equity to people in a form other than cash that can be a safety net in times of trouble. Additionally, having to pay rent during retirement years can cause …

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Housing and the Changing Demographics of Ireland

In order to solve the housing crisis, policy makers must consider changing demographics and plan for long term methods to resolve the housing crisis. According to Engineer’s Ireland review of housing in the The state of Ireland 2019, projections of future Irish population is increasing in number, age and diversity. The population is expected to grow from 2.78 people in 2017 to between 5.6 to 6.7 million people in 2051. The median forecast was defined as approximately 6.2 million people. An additional 1.48 million people must be housed in the next 32 years.

Future demographic projections are essential in forming adequate long term planning in regard to housing in Ireland. Due to the significant projected increase in population size, there is great demand to increase housing supply and plan accordingly.  The current average size of an Irish household is 2.7 people per home. If the average household size remains the same, the number of homes supplied must amount to at least 548,148 additional units by 2051. This amounts to an average of 15,661 additional housing units must supplied each year …

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