Why people will still invest in property in 2016

We plan to go through the maths soon of why the tax breaks that ended in 2014 were a bigger driver of a slow down in the market than the Central Bank rules, this aside, people will still invest in property.

The world of investment is relative, not absolute and for the €90 billion sitting in deposit earning 1% (at best) or less the implications are clear, you have to invest somewhere or get substandard returns which will eventually be eroded by inflation.

Along with a future of quantitative easing in Europe, the likelihood of a Dollar that will get stronger and a stock market that looks toppy to many, property will remain a focus for better or worse with many people who have money.

On the capital side you have a known shortage of property, that would lead some to believe there are significant capital gains to be had. On the dividend or yield side, you have strong rents which are still showing signs of rising.

Rents are certainly very strong versus the return on deposits even when you allow for costs, property tax and regular income taxes. This ‘relative return’ is why gross deposits in the banking system stay high and half the property market is in cash.

What is happening is that there is a latent value in a property (often the sellers are other investors, probate or people who are debt free as half the housing stock is) which is purchased with cash, that cash then re-enters the banking system as a deposit so gross deposits stay somewhat stagnant while transactions rise.

Obviously mortgages have little or no effect on this dynamic which is why lending rules won’t fix it. Instead, it may be that something like a stamp duty would be required to limit speculative investment but the conundrum is that we actually need speculative investment in order to meet current requirements.

For this reason capital appreciation is likely to continue, favourable terms will likely be given by subsequent governments and low deposit rates will push money into property. That’s a synopsis version of the view we have, but covers the main points.

In short, lending rules and low deposit rates won’t stop a wall of money from entering the property market and scarcity means prices will rise on both capital values and in rents, it’s a destructive virtuous circle which has all of the ingredients required to turn into a vicious circle.

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