What's your name?
What is your organisation, what does it do and what position do you hold?
I am President of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) which is the leading property, land and construction professional body in Ireland and represents over 5,000 members. I am also Head of Property in Friends First which is a pension and life assurance company with over €4bn of assets under management.
How long have you held your current role?
What are your day to day responsibilities?
In Friends First, my main responsibility is the management of the property portfolio which hold direct property assets in Ireland and the UK in a number of different funds worth over half a billion euro. The largest fund is the Irish Commercial Property Fund which is worth over €400m. This involves acquisitions, disposals, leases and targeted asset management strategies such as redevelopment and refurbishment of buildings to deliver the highest return for our investors.
What is your professional background and experience?
Chartered Planning and Development Surveyor and Project Management Surveyor with experience in property development and asset management both in private and semi-state companies.
Tell me about yourself away from work?
Away from work?! Playing with my kids and sleeping…
Tell us something very few people know about you?
I like fantasy books – the more magic and dragons the better!
You are speaking at the Residential Property Summit conference. What are you speaking about?
The challenges in the residential sector, particularly on the costs aspect and the recent real cost of housing delivery report undertaken by the SCSI. I’ll be expanding on our study that shows there is a serious financial viability issue in the provision of housing, particularly in urban areas, where the demand is highest, but where land prices are also at their highest. Based on real time market cost information, we concluded it is not currently economically viable to produce homes for sale within the affordability parameters set out by the loan to income/loan to value ratios of the Central Bank’s macro-prudential policy for residential mortgage lending.
What challenges do you see for the sector?
Lack of supply - costs of construction, lack of availability of finance, delays in planning, and difficulties in delivering affordable and social housing.
Where would you like to see the industry in 10 years time?
Functioning effectively with a balanced market in relation to supply and demand with housing being constructed in a sustainable manner next to public transport nodes where people want to live, work and socialise in mixed tenure developments with a variety of housing models.
Claire Solon, President of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) will be speaking at The Sunday Business Post Residential Property Summit on December 6 at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin. See www.propertysummit.ie for further details.