WELL, what do you know, it seems the Irish property market has come full circle.
Ten years ago the advice was buy, buy, buy. Why? Because the prices were going up. The quicker you bought, the quicker you could flip it and buy two more and so on until, just like Jack’s magic beans you’ll have a whole kingdom just from being clever with that one bean you started out with.
Of course, those of us who made two beans from one, got flippant and flung the beans around recklessly in the naïve hope that they would bounce back two, three, four fold. Needless to the say, the beans didn’t come back and we were left with no bean at all, hence the move to Doha.
Like spending time inside, we have had the time and space to ponder on our wayward ways. What were we thinking? Never again? Top-up mortgages? 100% mortgage? Interest only? Negative equity, negative equity, negative equity. All these phrases are floating around above our heads as we now lay on second hand Ikea beds with only the sound of the A/C to puncture the stillness of the desert. OK, not quite that bleak, but almost!
After that phase of atonement, entered the action phase. Sell, sell, sell, get rid. Hand back the keys. Settlement agreement, mortgage arrears, arrears repayment plan, bankruptcy, negative equity, negative equity, negative equity, these phrases floated round until peer pressure once again got hold and we emptied the dastardly portfolio of an overpriced family home, a shoddily built two bed apartment which now resembles little Africa, and a duplex in Bulgaria, which no-one ever actually saw.
Without a roof or a bean for a roof, we revelled in the nothingness. We shook our heads at the whole fiasco that was the property boom and vowed that the next time we would own a house, it would be safely within the 3.5 times the joint salary rule. It would affordable, considered and safe.
We carefully gathered our beans, one by one, every day dreaming of the time we would bring the bags of beans home to buy a modest family home, what we should have done in the first place.
There are hundreds of Irish people living in Qatar with the intention of going home and starting life anew, the ambitious want to go home mortgage free, the realists wants to go home with a small mortgage and the insane want to go home with a deposit for a three bed semi somewhere posh in Dublin. So every year people leave with their bags of beans and land home with renewed enthusiasm.
Now, seven years gone, the itch has started with me too. Over the past year, we had started to cast a wary but keen eye on houses in Ireland that we may be interested in. A modest bag of beans, a small mortgage and a bit of luck and we’d be back in Eire, back in business, back in the black! The taste of the old adrenelin was back, like a heroin addict getting that much needed fix, the taste for property was back and it was sweeter than ever. So we put the heads down, threw another few beans into the bag and looked at the houses once again. And can you guess, in only six months, the prices had gone up, not by 2%, 5% or 7.5% but by 15! or 20% in some cases! What happened to the introduction of controlled property prices? So who is putting the prices up? Show me the man/woman that decided the house in Blackrock that was €325,000 last year is worth €398,000 now.
This wasn’t a property market it was a giant beanstalk, and it keeps growing and expanding until only the very lucky/foolish can get to the top and then it turns to dust and disintegrates, dropping you and your paltry bag of beans to the ground.
Once again the phrases float, buy, buy, buy. Why? Because the prices are going up. Buy sooner rather than later. Invest. Find a deposit, somewhere, anywhere, just BUY NOW. Is it just me or does anyone else have déjà vu?