Thursday January 23, 2020

Funding from domestic lenders will continue to be challenging

“Multi-family investments/PRS schemes are a relatively new institutional asset class in Ireland” says Kelly O‘Hara, Partner & Head of Real Estate, Dillon Eustace Solicitors.

2nd December, 2019

What's your name?

Kelly O’Hara

What’s your current job?

Partner and Head of Real Estate, Dillon Eustace Solicitors

How long have you held the position?

2.5 years.

Can you describe your daily work routine?

I am usually in the office between 7.30am and 8am as I like to work on documents before the phones and emails start after 9am. My days involve a lot of meetings, phone calls, emails and document drafting. I work closely with my team of 11 solicitors and support staff on a wide variety of real estate deals. I am a transactional lawyer so when I am involved in a deal, I may have to work late, otherwise I leave around 7.00pm.

What is your professional background?

I qualified as a solicitor in Northern Ireland in 1996 and trained in and worked for a leading Belfast law firm. I moved to Dublin to work in the commercial property department of McCann FitzGerald in December 1998 when I was 2.5 years qualified and I have specialised in commercial real estate law since then.

Tell me about yourself away from work?

I live with my partner in Dublin. We enjoy golfing and travelling. We also love going to the cinema and are looking forward to the Oscars season and seeing some character driven films in place of action movies. I am also looking forward to the Dublin International Film Festival coming up in February. The interviews with writers, actors and directors that are part of the festival make this a fascinating event in the Dublin calendar.

Tell us something very few people know about you?

I played table tennis for Ulster at junior and senior level and represented Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 1997. I also played table tennis for Ireland at under 16 and under 19 level.

You are speaking at the forthcoming 2019 National Property Summit in Croke Park. What is the focus of your talk?

Residential investment deals and legal challenges associated with them.

Multi-family investments/PRS schemes are a relatively new institutional asset class in Ireland and this area is still evolving with challenges in terms of structuring deals, addressing developer/investor concerns and getting deals over the line without lengthy delays. I will also be looking at the vast amount of new law that impacts on this area, including the Multi-Unit Development Act and amendments to the Residential Tenancies legislation.

What in your opinion will be the key challenges over the coming year for development?

On the commercial side, future developments may require more pre-lets before they will get the go ahead as we appear to be at an advanced stage in the current cycle, with fewer speculative developments coming on-stream.

Properly priced and well located multi-family investments will continue to be in demand.

Funding from domestic lenders will continue to be challenging as they have much more robust requirements than previously. Funding from non-bank lenders will continue to feature.

How do you think home ownership and property development will change over the next decade?

Despite the phenomenal increase in multi-family investment deals over the past 7 years, the institutional rental market in Ireland is still under developed in comparison to other European countries. I can see more and more people renting and the shift away from home ownership continuing. It is also essential that more social and affordable homes are delivered by or on behalf of the government, perhaps by the Land Development Agency who may have a critical role to play in this regard.

There are also challenges in terms of long term affordability for renters with an ageing population and the ability to continue to rent on a pension.

It will also be essential for the Residential Tenancies Board to be properly resourced so that landlords and tenants can have disputes addressed without delay. The legislation underpinning residential tenancies is also unduly complex and imposes an ever increasing administrative burden on landlords and I would query the extent to which it will be possible for this labyrinthine legislation to work properly in practice.

Climate change will also have a very real impact as building practices will have to adapt to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction industry.

Kelly will be speaking at the 6th National Property Summit, on December 4th in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.

For more information visit

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