Mortgage specialist hails Limerick city’s loan strength

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Friends First economist Jim Power, with Jim Wallace and Thomas Fitz-Gough, First Choice and Ray McMahon, ICS Mortgages at a First Choice Breakfast Briefing which took place at the Strand Hotel

Friends First economist Jim Power, with Jim Wallace and Thomas Fitz-Gough, First Choice and Ray McMahon, ICS Mortgages at a First Choice Breakfast Briefing which took place at the Strand Hotel

A TOP mortgage expert has hailed the strength of home loan applications from Limerick, saying the “yield” on units is very high here.

Ray McMahon, the chief operating officer of ICS Mortgages, which has studied performance of building to profit across the country, says Limerick always “fascinates” him.

“The yields in Limerick far outperform Dublin, Galway and Cork. Trying to understand why that is the case is a head scratcher,” he admitted, “We have a credit committee, we meet every week in ICS Mortgages, and every time we see an application from Limerick, invariably, it sails through. The cashflow, the demand, the proposition is very strong.”

Mr McMahon was speaking at a breakfast event held by Riverpoint firm First Choice Financial Services.

The briefing, held at the Savoy Hotel, focused on property, pensions, protections and the economy, and also featured Jim Power, Friends First.

It is a decade since Mr Power, a leading economist, produced a report extolling the virtues of Limerick, but warned that the city was too dependent on the manufacturing and agriculture sector for jobs.

Within a year, this prediction was borne out with the decision of Dell to shift 1,900 jobs to Lodz in Poland.

But Mr Power said: “We are now back in business as a region. Dublin is becoming increasingly congested. The Mid-West, the stuff it has going for it, is really important. It has an international airport, it has a top level third level educational offering and it has a very good roads infrastructure which will be enhanced when the road to Cork is built.”

On the road to Cork, the Friends First economist said he feels it is being built in the wrong place.

Taoiseach and former Transport Minister Leo Varadkar confirmed to this newspaper earlier this year that the road will run from the junction with the N21 at Attyflynn, to the proposed Cork northern ring road near Blarney.

This corridor would run to the west of the current N20.

But Waterford man Mr Power said he believes a leg of the road should instead go from Cahir to connect to the road to the south-east.

He said: “From a regional planning perspective, it makes a lot more sense to have a circle around the country which spurs off to places like Cork.”

While a supposed housing shortage across Ireland has been well documented, Mr McMahon told the conference that he believes it is in fact a paucity of apartment complexes which the country is suffering from.

“We have enough houses in Ireland – what we don’t have is enough apartments. If you look at the stock of three-to-five bedroom dwellings in the greater Dublin area, there is no stock. The supply of one-to-two bedroom dwellings is chronically mismatched,” he said.