In 2007, I spent the summer working in Dublin, Ireland for a boutique real estate consulting firm called Urban Capital. (For those of you who are from Toronto and know the industry, there’s no connection between the Urban Capital in Dublin and the Urban Capital in Toronto.)
At the time, they were working with a number of government agencies on the development of masterplanned communities, as well as on specific development projects. Real estate was booming and everyone wanted to be a part of it – including the band U2.
But as you all know, the following year (2008) wasn’t kind to the real estate industry and, in particular, to Ireland. That year the country fell into recession for the first time since the 1980s and became labeled as one of the “PIGS.”
I really wish I had started this blog by that point because it would be interesting to look back today on my posts from that summer and see how I was thinking about the Dublin real estate market. I remember having many Guinness-fueled discussions about whether the bull market could continue.
In any event, the Irish economy is coming back.
This year GDP is expected to grow by 5.4%, which would make it the fastest growing economy in Europe. National debt is also falling. At the end of 2013 it stood at €215 billion or about 123% of GDP. And at the end of 2014 it had fallen to €203 billion or about 109% of GDP. The national debt is expected to fall below 100% of GDP by 2018.
At the same time, Ireland also got permission to pay off its bailout loans early. That’s a good sign.
I’m thinking and reading about all of this today because I was looking through my photo collection this morning and I stumbled upon a folder titled “Dublin 2007.” The photo at the top of this post was the terrace that I had outside of my apartment in the Docklands area. I don’t think I used it once that summer.
And here’s a photo of my bedroom. It must have been the curtains that sold me on the apartment.
I had a great time in Dublin that summer. It’s a fun and young city and I remember being incredibly impressed by the quality of city building that was going on. I’m sure that wasn’t lost in the Great Recession.