The following is a summary of the remarks by IPAV President Keith Anderson to IPAV’s Annual Conference in the Sandhouse Hotel, Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal on Saturday, May 10th .
IPAV is an institute of which we as members can all be very proud. I believe that there is a great need for such a body to represent the views of Auctioneers nationwide and during my term as President, I will continue the initiative of my predecessor and the CEO in actively recruiting suitably qualified members to join our ranks. I ask each and every member here today to help in this recruitment process and recommend at least one new member to headquarters.
I am glad to report that IPAV’s Education programme, which is one of the cornerstones of the Institute, is going from strength to strength and the Institute is now offering, through our formal agreement with the Institute of Technology, Tallaght, a fully-approved Level 6 course, which meets the requirements of the Property Regulator. I would urge members to spread the word about this course and to encourage family members and others to consider it as an option in planning a career in property.
These days when we read the papers and listen to the news we often hear often would-be experts predicting another property boom and speculating when it will “burst” again. Most commentators don't even recognise that property prices have reduced by 50/60% over the past six years. I have no crystal ball and I don't second-guess the market – indeed all I want to do is to sell property – but there are clearly many reasons for the recent “spike” in property prices in Dublin and some urban area. Among the reasons I believe is the scarcity of planning, very high planning charges, the availability of foreign investment money and the huge price reductions over the last six years. I believe all of these have contributed to the recent upsurge. It is hard to believe that there are significant lands with planning permission in vacant sites available between the two canals in Dublin which continue to lie idle. That is why IPAV supports the Lord Mayor of Dublin’s proposal of a vacant site levy to help to free up some of this land for immediate building.
IPAV has called on the Government over the past three years to set up a special Property Council that can advise the Government on day-to-day property matters and IPAV would be happy to serve on such a council. So today I would like to ask you Minister to bring a very strong message back to Government to ask them to carefully monitor the property market and to take appropriate action where necessary before it is again too late. Now is the time.
I wish to mention another few other major issues that confront us at this time:
The first issue is the lack of finance for small businesses which is hindering the growth and development of many enterprises up and down the country. Many SMEs are not even given a reason as to why their loan application is turned down. This is not acceptable in a modern economy today. In my view it is vital to revive the dialogue at bank manager level between the financial sector and small businesses as they are the engine that will allow the country to exit the economic crisis.
Delays in conveyancing
A second issue I wish to highlight is one that is causing concern among estate agents as the property market begins to re-awaken and that is the great length of time it takes many solicitors in the conveyance of property. Many of these solicitors simply do not realise the importance and urgency in issuing contracts and dealing with whatever problems as they arise. Even Alexander Bell used the phone in 1876 as a line of communication and but some of our solicitors still refuse to pick it up and talk to each other and many more still do not use email. A common answer is: “I’ll write to them”.
Taking into consideration the amount of repossessed property arriving on the market, many sales do not complete or take an inordinate length of time to complete, due to these delays. This is not acceptable in a modern-day business environment and I am today asking all those concerned to make a genuine effort to sort out whatever difficulties there are to ensure that all transactions are processed as swiftly as possible. Only by all parties working together can we provide a first class professional service for the mutual benefit of all. There are many countries where the auctioneer does the conveyancing. I am not calling for this in Ireland but, believe me, circumstances can change situations.
The third issue I wish to mention and which I feel is slowing down the recovery of the property market is the ongoing process whereby the banks are devaluing their own assets. At this point in time in our emergence from the recession, I firmly believe there should be a final target date set by which all repossessed property should be sold. Every few months we hear of another Allsop Auction it is seems to be never-ending. By having these ongoing auctions, the banks are “dumping” properties and devaluing their own assets. I believe this process must be brought to a head at some point – and the sooner the better – because if it is not, the market will not move forward as quickly as it should.
An issue which I intend to address as President and which is also very central to the work of IPAV members, is the large amount of our members who are small to medium businesses based in rural towns and villages. In recent years, some members have opted to amalgamate with larger franchises which gives them the opportunity to share ideas and problems with each other.
But I am saying to the sole trader who has decided to stay on his or her own not to be afraid to pick the phone up and talk to a fellow member if one has a certain difficulty and in need of a second opinion. Our CEO Pat Davitt can’t attend to every problem so let’s all make a commitment today to help each other. You may know the answer to my problem or at least point me the right direction and maybe someday I can be of assistance to you when you need help. I hope that through IPAV we can continue to build a genuine network of mutual support and benefit for all members. The past six years have been tough for all of us but hopefully there is now a real sign of improvement and the vibes are good. As members of this Institute, let’s build on these green shoots by actively supporting each other as best week can.
The days of the Celtic Tiger are truly gone but we can all continue to make a living and take care of our families and our loved ones which is all we ask.
These are some thoughts I have on current issues as I begin my term of office. I wish to assure you of my best efforts for the Institute during my term as President and I look forward to meeting you throughout the year.