Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ireland is a Lot Like Connecticut

We got back late last night from a lightning trip to Ireland, on the new flight from Bradley that leaves every evening.  It was great!  We had a guide to take us around the Ring of Kerry, and, as we watched the beautiful countryside pass by, he told us that properties there were still way below what they were going for before the Great Recession.  In fact, he wasn't sure that some of the waterfront homes would ever sell for what they were worth ten years ago.

When we got to Dublin, though, it was another story.  It's hard to find housing there, and costs are high, especially so in new neighborhoods near the economic center, like the Docklands.  Rents are expensive and there are lots of students looking for housing.  Properties out in the far suburbs, on the other hand, are underwater, and owners there cannot move in closer, because they owe more than they can sell for at this time. 

So, the center city is doing well, rental housing is booming, second homes have taken a big hit (and Brexit is likely to make that hit greater), and homes not in the right place aren't selling.  Sound familiar?

Connecticut, like Ireland, had a big boom in the early 2000s, and prices went way up.  People moved farther away from cities to find affordable homes and second homes, and borrowed way too much.   Now we have low supply at the lower end and in rentals, with a very large supply at the very upper end.  The biggest cities, though (New York and Boston for us) have fully recovered in most categories. 

Ireland is banking on tourism to improve things further, but new companies are moving in and expanding.  Jobs will get them out of their problems, and Connecticut needs to work on finding the same solution.