Why housing is so expensive today.


I wanted to make a start on this. I'll come back to it when I have more time.

The analysis needed to answer the question encompasses a system that has existed with certain purposes for a considerable time period.

Within this system encompasses other sub-systems and institutions, encompassing banks and our governments who create and uphold certain facilitative legal rights and privileges that create the mortgage market etc.

And in this country during the critical period 1997-2007 this system encompassed auctioneers, developers, publicans, politicians, estate agents, the public sector, mainstream media, land owners, the mediocre and their professional institutions, and so on.

Not forgetting the Irish people as a whole within this system who voted for the paradigm of strokes 1997-2007. Who voted for a paradigm where mortgage burden steadily increased, and who were happy to acquiesce in a paradigm where they would take on a 35 year double income mortgage, as compared to the previous generation's 20 years single income.

(Of course, as long as the following generation would take on 50 years, and so on... Sure didn't Japan get to the 100 year mortgage.) Then, when the paradigm came tumbling down, when later generations came close in fact to being saved from this greed, they voted in a party they knew would be the least sparing on the welfare class and other vulnerable etc.

But look. I need to separate the strands. Where to start with it.

With the young people who were cajoled into signing a piece of paper that promised 30 years of their working life in exchange for 317,500 or so euro, which promise was instantly monetised and instantly pocketed by developers, lawyers, estate agents, commissions to banking management, taxes to pay politician and public service fat cat salaries, ad infinitum?

Or with the fact that when the system came tumbling down it was rescued by the same people who were the financial architects of the system? Larry Fink of Blackrock, and Blackstone, KPMG etc.

(And putting aside for the moment the three white-wash reports with carefully restricted terms of reference that were claoimed to be investigations. I may return to that as well).

Yes, perhaps I will start with Blackstone and Larry Fink. Begin at the beginning.

Because Blackstone takes its name from Sir William Blackstone who writing in 1753 was the man most responsible for the philosophy of property ownership that property interests have ever since championed towards their own rights.

While Larry Fink was the guy who pretty much created single-handedly the market in mortgage backed securities back in the late 70's, and he was the first person that the Irish government reached out to when the system faltered. (Fink owns Blackrock, the largest money and asset manager in the world, which Blackstone financed for him in the beginning, and housed it in its offices, in return for a 50 per cent stake. And Blackrock of course was the outfit that undertook the bank stress-testing for us, analysing potential loan losses under "stressed conditions" in the four main Irish owned deposit banks - to inform the calculation of capital requirements under the PCAR etc.)

Anyway, I'm getting bogged down. For the first post I just wanted to throw a bunch of stuff up here. I will try to gradually whip it into shape. Let's properly answer the question of why housing is so expensive. Fuck this simplistic shit about immigrants etc.

So I will revert below with a post on Sir William Blackstone in the next couple of days. Let's get at the very roots of the whole thing. (After that I will do a post on the credit cycle and accompanying boom and bust, with an eye to the devices deployed post the 2007 bust that replaced the broken money markets with private equity and venture capital etc.).

To revert.
I wanted to make a start on this. I'll come back to it when I have more time.
Can you come back to this -

Are you also indifferent to the elimination of a European country by demographic changes?

Because I'm going keep on asking you why you think intent matters (because I know it's what your whole conspiracy theory shtick relies on) and related questions until you give me a straight answer.

And you have nowhere else to go on Irish political fora. Even Gaychat banned you ffs


What were you doing searching my posts on p.ie you prize fanny? What were you hoping you'd find?

Actually I'm not banned. Only I held up a true mirror to that horrible degenerate far leftist bigot Buachaill Dana that he didn't like to see, and he got all litigious apparently, and the site owners were looking for a real email address from me.

Fucked if I'm giving them that. Do you know how many retards like yourself and Buachaill Dana that I've held a mirror up to would love to find out who I am in real life? Would I ever trust a site run by half wits like Baxter and Owedtojoy with my real personal details? Not likely. No loss in any case, in fact it's a blessing.

Anyway this thread is not the place for this and I'll get to dealing with your "so when did you stop beating your wife" pathetic efforts in my own good time. Intent always matters. That is the crux of it. The trick is to read it correctly and insightfully in the right people. And in this it's actually your own intent, no matter that you've picked it up from others, that is the key to the matter imho.


The traditional house with front garden, back garden, a parking drive, and as much privacy as possible on a massive sprawling estate of other two-up, two-down little piggy-bank domiciles. Paddy hates the idea of living in a shoe-box apartment, which to him is a failure in life: a house is a home, a flat is a temporary solution to a longer term problem.

Land becomes very expensive when city planners, county council, and developers crawl into bed with each other. They build out, not up. City limits becomes a moving target between the city and the suburbs and on out into the sink estates. Mica, pyrite, shoddy building practices, cheap materials, imported workers with no stake in the end result, the legal apparatus set up to protect the developers from any moaning and groaning about ten year old houses starting to cave in and sink into the bogs.

Collusion on a grand scale of nods and winks, brown envelopes flying all over the place, backroom promises and stabs in the back, the honest brokers thrown under the bus (think Tom Gilmartin Snr and the whole Liffey Valley project - which yesterday was named as being the location for another 8,500 or so six to a block type housing) and quality builds voted out in favour of quick-fix solutions, estates in the middle of nowhere with fuck all facilities: no shops, schools, etc.

Young people too stupid to question the narrative who allow the media to pressure them into buying into three quarters of a million lifetime debts on shitty houses they'll never be able to pay the debts off and will never own, and investing it into houses that begin falling apart pretty much as soon as the mortgage holder sticks their keys in the front door and walks in. Sales price on said house suddenly becoming worth less than half the deposit the fools put down on it several months before.

The sheer number of parasite leeches involved down the chain: the engineers, the builders, the legal conveyancing, the civic authorities, the housing tax, the property tax, the water tax, the extra box room tax, the surging energy costs, the desperate need for private transport - two cars in the garage to get the kids to school fifty miles away and Ma/Da taking turns at being late to work as a result.

Then there's this:

Airport in chaos, thousands miss their flights, their connections, their vacations, their pick-ups, and their luggage?

We're sorry.

Sunday DART service at the height of Irish summer overcrowded, lacking air conditioning, space, seats, an open window to breathe, out to watch an air-show in their thousands?

We're sorry.

Hospital services unavailable, no beds, no English speaking doctors, few facilities, beds in corridors, long waits for life-saving operations?

We're sorry.

Ten thousand homeless, hundreds of them kids, junkies in the dorrways all over the capital, children eating penny dinners off the cold concrete outside the GPO?

We're sorry.

Fuel prices soaring, electricity bills increasing, food prices surging, apartment costs through the roof, impatient banks and other loan operators?

We're sorry.

Rain, endless rain, storms, seas, oceans, rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, estuaries, channels, puddles, and they introduce a water tax?

We're sorry.

Crime escalating, dead bodies in the cities, guns, rifles, gang warfare, drugs on the streets, drugs in the estates, no cops, no security, no safety?

We're sorry.

You show up half an hour late to work on Monday after a hectic weekend with the kids, the granny, sorting out Sunday the roast, and balancing the monthly spend?

You're fired.

Ireland is too far gone to rein in. The damage was done long before the cornerstone was even lifted and the governmental stop-gap of mass emigration becomes a necessity again and again each time they drop another whammy. Then they blame YOU on it.

It's a win/win for those running outside the loop.

Those inside are fucked. For. Life.

But not me - after seeing the changes around 97-99, I got the hell out when my rent was taking more than 50% of my income. Any fool could see what was going on. The only upside I personally considered was after a conversation with my kid brother. He said: 'fuck it, let them do what they want to. It'll all fall apart like it always does - but at least we'll have a vibrant city center rebuilt and modernized'.

He was right in one way - the city center is completely different now, bit not in a good way. I opted for emigration because I found a better place to operate with my skills set and preferences in life. He kept working his fingers to the bone, living in a rental out in Clonee, another sprawling estate of boxes and winding streets full of house with fuck all facilities near by. He saved, as did his lady and now they own a massive five-bed on two acres of land surrounded by trees and farmland, fully modernized and beautifully appointed. They're also 75% paid up and will own it outright in another shirt few years.

Meanwhile, many of the suckers I hung with up until I left are in penury for life. Others couldn't stomach it and opted for the exit: rope, car crashes, gassing themselves, overdosing, alcoholic poisoning, etc, etc. All fucked, all dead now.

That's the model Ireland STILL favours, so not much has changed and nor is there the will to change it.


How is it that back in the 40s and 50s when the country hadn't a pot to piss in, we had an abundance of cheap and affordable houses? Yet now as one of the wealthiest countries in the world by GDP, we have a housing crisis with even well paid millennials renting out shared accommodation bedrooms in absolute dumps.

To add to that, much of the housing built mid-century had facilities such as running water, indoor plumbing, electricity - a first for many occupants who had come from urban tenaments and primitive rural cottages. Now people who grew up in say Lucan or Bray are effectively told to fuck off to Leitrim and to consider themselves lucky they have a bedroom roof over their heads.


How is it that back in the 40s and 50s when the country hadn't a pot to piss in, we had an abundance of cheap and affordable houses? Yet now as one of the wealthiest countries in the world by GDP, we have a housing crisis with even well paid millennials renting out shared accommodation bedrooms in absolute dumps.

The answer is in the question actually.

It is what it is by design, by intent, and to a small degree - by error. The period 1996/2008 was a learning curve for the two-party state. They clocked that their 'mistake' was actually a massive earner. Smashing the economy on the rocks gave them security of tenure in Leinster House: first ply the masses with free money, then tell them they're rich. Then sit back and watch them fall into life-altering debt and then end up on the streets. Then blame them for their own greed and stupidity.

To add to that, much of the housing built mid-century had facilities such as running water, indoor plumbing, electricity - a first for many occupants who had come from urban tenaments and primitive rural cottages. Now people who grew up in say Lucan or Bray are effectively told to fuck off to Leitrim and to consider themselves lucky they have a bedroom roof over their heads.

The housing I was raised in is surprisingly tough and well able to withstand the elements. The traditional two-up two-down with front and back gardens will in a few years from now become nuggets on the housing lists. Solid builds routed into the incoming and outgoing supplies, the breeze blocks used in the building stage can be drilled into and filled with heat retaining materials to keep it hot in winter and cold in summer. Add on a kitchenette and downstairs wet room and you have more than enough space to raise a small family in reasonable conditions.

I imagine Ballyer when the kids inherit from the generation of parents who moved into these houses. Over the coming years, Ballyer will settle down even more quietly than it is now, and with some mature trees lining the roads, the removal of the fencing that separates each garden, it'll be a treasure of a neighbourhood only five miles from O'Connell Bridge.

I used to ride that in eleven minutes by bike.

Of course, coming home again took longer as it's a slight incline all the way back out on the Con Colbert Road. Ballyer's several meters above sea level, so damp and rain aren't problems for us, they never were really. The house beside the one I was born into on Martin's Row in Chapelizod is still standing: it overlooks the Liffey right at the bottom of Knockmaroon Hill. I've been in it and spoke to the current owners, telling them I used to live there. It's basic but that view is to die for. The weirs hissing through the night, the deer above in the Phoenix Park fight during the rutting season, collecting deer horns in the wee hours to sell in town to the antique shops.

If I could, that's where I'd buy in Dublin: Chapelizod: the cutest little village in the entire city, it's like time forgot about it. A little cottage along Martin's Row, right over the river. Canoeing, swimming, fishing from the back windows. The cute little local shops, the warmth of the bars and lounges, the Angler's Rest just up the hill, access to the Phoenix Park as a back garden.

Damn - how sweet would that be?


Building out instead of up causes all sorts of problems for a not very rich country like Ireland. I reckon the front and back garden routine is a popular tradition that we brought in from the countryside life we used to lead long before the cities tenements were built, used, abused, and then leveled again. A lot like Finns trying to be invisible to their immediate neighbours. The general rural unwillingness to meet or speak to people who live nearby simply in order to try to feel somewhat anonymous. But we built apartments because the finished version had to offer certain necessities.

A transport grid for an apartment based city is simpler to design, will remain longer in use, and will serve extremely well because we all live tightly woven in apartment blocks. The city is tightly interwoven to the degree that if you're coming in from from the suburbs and rural areas, you can also use the underground city and its roads to get to where you're going.

Dublin is a mess, the grid is hopeless - it could only have been better designed of you gave one of Val's cows a bucket of paint and a boreen to scribble on. Building out instead of up means everything you get and use will always cost more. The bus lines are longer and serve multiple areas and estates en route. Totally impractable. They're also NOT connect via circling ring roads laid out like web, meaning that if I need to get to Castleknock from Ballyer I have to bus into town and then take the Castleknock/Blanchardstown line back out again. Or I could walk the valley down into Chapelizod in fifteen minutes - then thumb a ride up to the village (cars always stop if you stick out your thumb at Knockmaroon Hill, it's criminal not to) in five minutes. Traveling to that same destination by bus will take at least two to two and a half hours. Fuck that.

Walk, thumb, twenty minutes - done.

Sprawling estates are harder to maintain. The budgets are always small, the work arduous and always the same end result: part finished, but sure we'll give it a lash and you know yourself. Blah fucking blah. You need more staff covering more ground with housing estates. Blocks up here require one professional team and they can finish a block scrub-up in an hour or so.

The only positive with the front/back personal garden ideal is having a wee token of fresh green grass to look at. But you can have that on a balcony too, if you want. Lots of people lay a sealant, then clay, then grass seeds, and grow a patch for themselves. Others buy in pre-grown grass and lay it like carpets to walk on outdoors. Then they recycle the matt when winter kicks in. I've grown herbs and flowers in buckets and pots on mine, and I have a sea view to the south east and of the forests to the north west.

So I don't miss or need a garden. What I also don't miss is a fucked up transport system like Dublin's. It's carnage. Fucked up. But up here it's all running to the second, and the entire grid itself runs on automatic programs that set the timing of the traffic lights depending on where the clog-ups are as well as where everything else is too. It's a self-sufficient system and human input is minimal.

Apartments are cheaper in Ireland but then again anybody buying one is doing so because they have to because a house is simply too expensive. Up here apartments come in all styles and standards: from great to fucking awesome.

The place I'm doing the finishing on these last few days was bought by the investor for €135,000 but we ripped everything out down to the concrete and rebuilt. We also added an extra bedroom and knocked a few walls out for a more open and spacious feel. With the extra bedroom making three and with a large balcony, large hallway, own sauna, separate wc, laundry room, and three beds? It'll whizz off the listings for at least €230,000+.

Money well spent: these blocks are built with solid cast cement over a foot thick between apartments. With minimal support structural walls added, everything can be moved around and made to serve different functions depending on your family lifestyle. Walls added, taken away, later added again. We have to cater for a potential buyer on Wednesday (he knows the renovation/work is in progress and things are piled up for a five-man complete renovation team).

Old Ballyfermot and the entire estate is familiar to me. But when I was staying out in Ongar (for example) I got lost in the estates every time I tried to get home. It all looks exactly the same, and they don't bother with signposts on many smaller streets. I've knocked on the wrong doors, been attacked by snarling Alsations, fallen knee-deep into a stream of filthy water at one in the morning after a long day. It fucking horrendous. Like some surreal movie set. I'd go mad living in a place like that.

Fuck that.

Depressing looking, grim to live with, and with the rain and grey clouds all fucking year?

Nah, not for me.

Most cities build up rather than out have a hell of a lot more options than sporadic services scattered here and there among so many separate Dublin estates. Plus: if you don't get on with your neighbours? Messy. On the whole, I'll take a sturdy and near-vacuumed sealed Finnish built apartment every time. The Irish are still trying to figure out how to build an apartment block that's been designed to last at least twenty years. In fact, many of the Celtic Tiger apartments are now fire and general health hazards. The buyers got royally shafted, every one of them. Many can't live in them, but still have to pay for them? Think about that. Then think about that happening in Finland?


Fucked up: the poor suckers.

Wouldn't be allowed to happen at all up here.
Oklahoma Home by Bill Cunningham, covered by lots of people but Springsteen's version is the best...

When they opened up the strip
I was young and full of zip
I wanted someplace to call my home
And so I made the race
And I staked me out a place
And I settled down along the Cimarron
It blowed away
It blowed away
My Oklahoma home it blown away
Well it looked so green and fair
When I built my shanty there
Now my Oklahoma home is blown away
Well I planted wheats and oats
Got some chickens and some shoats
Aimed to have some ham and eggs to feed my face
Got a mule to pull the plow
Got an old red muley cow
And I also got a fancy mortgage on this place
Well it blowed away
It blowed away
All the crops that I've planted blown away
Well you can't grow any grain
It you ain't got any rain
Everything except my mortgage blown away
Well it looked so green and fair
When I built my shanty there
I figured I was all set for life
I put on my Sunday best, with my fancy scalloped vest
And I went to town to pick me out a wife
She blowed away
She blowed away
My Oklahoma woman blowed away
Mister as I bent to kiss her
She was picked up by a twister
My Oklahoma woman blown away
Well then I was left alone just listenin' to the moan
Of wind around the corners of my shack
So I took off down the road yeah
When the south wind blowed
I traveled with the wind upon my back
I blowed away
I blowed away
Chasin' that dust cloud up ahead
Once it looked so green and fair
Now it' up in the air
My Oklahoma farm is over head.
Well now I'm always close to home it blown away
But my home Sir, is always near
It's up in the atmosphere
My Oklahoma home is blown away
Well I'm roam'n Oklahoman
But I'm always close to home
I'll never get homesick until I die
'Cause no matter where I'm found
My home's all arraound
My Oklahoma home is in the sky
It blowed away
It blowed away
My farm down on Cimarron
Now all around the world
Where ever dust is swirled
There is some from my Oklahoma home
Oh and it's blown away
It's blown away
Oh my Oklahoma home is blown away
Yeah, it's up there in the sky
In that dust cloud over n' by
My Oklahoma home is in the sky



Brings to mind fat Dan's wife's abode in that filthy little Boston suburb: she has a patch of grass on her front lawn but outside of that everything else is dirt. As barren as a desert.

The illusion of grandeur for a Mick Paddy made good in the suburbs of nowhere.


Building your own place straight from the box isn't that expensive. Most money would go on land and adding the necessary in/out water and energy supplies, but still: Nordic builds in County Cavan might go a long way towards reminding filthy pigs like Val how the rest of us live.

This one's a pre-pack log cabin home and like many Finnish mokkis, it can be shipped in and built in a short period of time, provided you've already sorted your foundation and supplies. There are three bedrooms, but in Finnish tradition, rooms can be for whatever you want them to be. The price is also ridiculous by comparison to your regular shitty Irish builds at just €180,000.

The front exterior offers you a nice veranda set up for drinks in the evenings watching the sun go down:

The kitchen and dining area are cozy and warm:

Above the staircase, a mini bar for drinks and play room:

The bedrooms are angular and again very cozy:

The outside decking offers plenty of space for your party and event needs. You could fit a live band and a gangload of people onto this one:

And for only €180,000 you can add your own outdoor wood burning sauna. If you're nearby a like, even better: you can sauna and swim in the Nordic tradition and enjoy the quiet life away out in the woods next to nature and the elements.

I've stayed at many of these pre-packed log cabins and they're sealed tight and very easy to heat. Being mostly wooden, the wood retains the heat and keeps you warm long after your fire has gone out. They have character, style, and a rustic sense of rural adventure about them.

Given the choice, would you go for say this at around €240,000 on some estate in Dublin's suburbs?

Or this for 35% less?

Jeez fuck but I couldn't bear to live in Ireland again.
I could see myself scratching the Royal Irish arse of a Saturday morning with the papers and kippers and coffee alright the Mowl, in a mokki in Finland.

And being quite happy while doing it.


We're on the cusp of the coming winter and predictions are for a grand season of massive snowfalls and low temperatures. The clocks turn and we'll plunge into darkness earlier in the day but it won't stop us going about our regular routines. I've just completed a nine month course in child psychology and alongside that joined a team of five designers who are competing with another team of five designers and both teams were given an old apartment outside the city limits bought by a wealthy investor who needs to decide which team he'll give his next purchases to.

Ours was on the island of Lauttasaari and is around ninety years old. We stripped it, took out some walls, added new rooms, resurfaced the walls, stripped the ceilings and put down new floors. Then I was given free reign to decide on how to decorate it. I like understatement and chose my tones and colours accordingly. Now the cabinet builders are putting in my chosen storage items and the complete build winds down on Thursday next when I have a team of domestic cleaners coming to polish everything from the ground up.

The decision on the winning team takes place next Saturday evening with a private dinner booked downtown for the competing teams to finally meet and the buyer to choose the winner. There'll be a video presentation of a quick version of the various stages from old to new being shown and we'll both get to see each others techniques and the final outcome.

We're forbidden from taking/publishing any shots or videos ourselves as the properties are being sold on after a standard public viewing and the only visual evidence of the progress with the works was made using video cameras placed in the high corners of the various rooms. They've been filming us from day one and the compiled version for viewing at the dinner party ought to be a laugh.

There's an Australian lad on our team. He has an Irish second name and is married to a girl from Limerick, they have a daughter with a pagan name and he's a fucking howl to work with. I asked him how come an Ozzie with an Irish wife ended up in Helsinki of all places.

He replied that he came up here for 'the weather and the heavy metal scene' and his wife agreed because of childcare and schooling. He plays bass (four, five, and seven stringed) and his band won some competition and are heading to play some festivals representing Finnish metal music down in Argentina, the spiritual home of global metal.

Reminds me of this lad, another brilliant comedian who left the heat of Australia for the colder climes of Europe:

So I have high hopes and am excited to see how the cabinet builders get on with my elements. I've done loads of interior design for offices and apartments over the years but this is rather more vital in that it's the first work of this type I've done since spinal and neck surgery. Working with the ceilings was a challenge but I got through it without any issues.

So today I'm treating myself to a visit to the Olympic swimming pools on Makelankatu:

And after easing my spine in the water I'll be in one of the two saunas drinking beers: the first being 'very hot' and the second being 'fucking hot'. There's a water massage bar: you hop into the pool, secure yourself with two tie-ropes on the hands, and then hit the underwater switch which releases a torrent of jets of water onto the shoulders and back, which feels amazing. A quick hop into the ice pool to freeze the muscles, and then back into the 'fucking hot' sauna to relax the muscles.

Costs €4.00 for as long as you feel like staying. Upstairs there's tea rooms and a bar, along with a viewing deck looking back towards the city. So by this evening I'll be the happiest Mowl on the planet.

How's that rain and wind working out for you guys?

Having fun?
That pool looks fantastic. Like a sort of emperor's personal palace pool. When the Mokki competition is finished Mowl (and will cross fingers it is your team that wins) will you be allowed to put some photos up of the finished article?


Yes, we will - but only after it's been sold. We had potential buyers in from halfway through the project and some even visited while we were at work and the air full of plaster board dust and other messy things. It's the area they're looking at first: the island of Lauttasaari is a highly desirable place for young families starting out with their first homes.

The three bedroom design was our own initiative: I pointed out that the open plan lounge area is, if anything, too big and adding a wall and a door to create another bedroom would balance out the interior for the parents to have some silence for sleep as the kids are in the bedrooms at the opposite end of the apartment.

The sauna is so sweet: a three seater with tiny but powerful floor and ceiling spotlights. There's a shower and wet room connected to it and It's absolutely awesome for an apartment in Lauttasaari, the new buyers will be the envy of the block.

I'll take some shots of my own after the last details are taken care of.

This is an overhead shot of the area we're based in for this project:

An island with two bridges adjoining it to the west end of the city, one's a motorway direct to the heart of the area and the other a regular road which arrives nearer to the block we're in. I used to work out of a bomb shelter on the island years back when I first started out here. I would have happily move into any place I found there but it didn't pan out and I made other choices with the ladies of my Finnish life.

Being on an island, you can still walk into the centre of town on the ice when the bays freeze over.

That or one of these these babies:

Great shot of the island. Just thinking, do all those boats have to be taken up on trailers out of the water before the ice comes?

You would imagine the ice would expand and compress so would crush those boats if you left them in for the winter.

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