The number of borrowers approved for home loans in August fell sharply, according to new figures from the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI). But the banking lobby group insists that demand from borrowers remains strong. Ian Curran reports.
On a related topic, Ian Curran has the details of the latest Daft.ie report on house prices, which shows that asking prices for homes inched higher in the third quarter buoyed by strong demand and a sharp decline in the number of homes listed for sale.
Who owns and operates the growing number of data centres here and what long term impact are they going to have on our energy consumption? Colm Keena mines the available data on the growth of a sector that prefers to remain out of sight.
Ryan Tubridy is set to make his first public appearance since his departure from RTÉ, at an event for women in farming to be held next month in Kilkenny, according to our columnist John Burns. He also has details on forecourt operator Applegreen pulling the plug on a deal with ESB for electric vehicle chargers, an Irish artist proving a hit in Asia, and the appointment of two new data commissioners.
In our Interview of the Week, dapper Irish banker David Duffy tells Mark Paul how he’s on a mission to make Virgin Money the best digital bank in the British market and how he’s fully embraced the culture of working from home. “My secretary is a mother of three and she can live in Newcastle [where the company also has an office]. I see her three or four times a year. I don’t need an assistant sitting 10 feet from me to admire my greatness.”
Raising the price of dirty fuels will drive investment in greener technologies as we seek to prevent catastrophic climate change, writes our columnist John FitzGerald.
It will probably take a decade or more to fully assess the impact of the pandemic on the workplace. In the meantime, organisational culture remains a touchy subject, according to Olive Keogh in our weekly feature on the world of work.
Deloitte Ireland’s revenues rose by 12 per cent last year as the Big Four firm said it was “cautiously optimistic” about continued growth. Ellen O’Regan has the details.
The opening of the first of Google’s offices in the old Boland’s Mills complex in Dublin’s Ringsend is a milestone for the tech company, writes Ciara O’Brien.
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The new $1b PwC Tower at Commercial Bay. Photo / supplied
More Aucklanders are back at their offices five days a week in a trend dubbed “work from work” by New Zealand’s largest commercial listed landlord.
Scott Pritchard, chief executive of multi-billion dollar landlord Precinct Properties,
A national group of ad agencies proposed reducing unionized actors’ compensation for commercial work by as much as 89 per cent for some productions, according to an April presentation to members of Canada’s largest actors’ union.
The Globe and Mail has viewed presentation slides and verified their contents with multiple members who saw the spring presentation, and is not identifying its sources because they may face retaliation for sharing details. The 28,000 members of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) have been in a labour dispute that the union has described as a lockout with the Institute of Canadian Agencies (ICA) since April, 2022.
The dispute centres on the six-decade-old National Commercial Agreement between ACTRA and the ICA, who have become bitterly divided. The actors call it a collective agreement; the agency group calls it a commercial contract. Either way, it underpins lucrative work: the ICA represents numerous agencies – including Leo Burnett, Sid Lee, and Taxi – a broad group whose clients include major brands such as Canadian Tire, McDonald’s and H&R Block.
Commercial jobs, especially for prominent brands, can be a vital lifeline for working actors, and many have been financially depleted during the 14-month-long standoff. ACTRA and the Institute are scheduled to return to negotiations with a mediator next week.
The actors’ union declined to comment out of respect for the bargaining process. In an e-mail, ICA chief executive Scott Knox said that he looked forward to returning to the table “to bring equity and fairness” to their relationship, “reflective of the expanded breadth and opportunity of current day technologies on the current day marketplace.”
The details of ICA’s proposals viewed by The Globe, which are no longer in play but reveal the intensity of the groups’ long negotiations, would have put significant restrictions on long-term income for actors appearing in commercials, industry figures said.
Earlier this year, the slides show, the Institute proposed that, for ads whose talent costs exceed more than 10 per cent of a commercial’s production budget, actors should receive flat fees for combined digital and TV advertising campaigns – rather than the current norm, which sees actors receiving “residual” payments over time. The proposed fees would range as high as $4,000 in compensation for a principal actor for a yearlong ad rollout to $350 for a voice-over narrator for an eight-week rollout.
This change in compensation structure, with residuals diminished, could lower actors’ total compensation from ads by between 70 and 89 per cent, ACTRA officials wrote in one slide. Strategy Magazine previously reported this figure in an interview with ACTRA national executive director Marie Kelly in June without providing details about how the percentage was calculated.
Such a cut would be drastic to working actors. “It’d be impossible to make a living wage in a market like that,” said Fiona Highet, an ACTRA member whose commercial voice-over work has accounted for at least 60 per cent of her income for the past 20 years.
None of the individuals quoted in this story, including Highet, shared the slides with The Globe, and all agreed to speak only in the context of the consequences such kinds of proposals would have for their work and livelihoods.
Such a cut to commercial income, especially from lucrative residual payments, could trickle down through the entire performing-arts sector in Canada, warned Highet, who also works in theatre. Theatrical life can be precarious, and actors often need to pay their bills with other work. If they can’t pay their mortgage, “they can’t live in downtown Toronto, which means downtown Toronto doesn’t have a theatre scene.”
Knox declined to comment on the individual proposals obtained by The Globe, but said: “Proposals can be made, often at the request of the other side, to highlight the issues facing one of the parties. They may not the final desired outcome but aimed to be catalysts to get great ideas and solutions on the table.”
Such a rigid fee structure could also have longer-term financial implications for actors. They’re generally prevented acting in many competing companies’ ads for six months after a commercial campaign ends, and thus dependent on residual income before going back on the acting market.
“The compensation from residuals is important because it’s much more than their daily fee for a shoot,” said Maggie Dunlop, a talent agent with Oldfield Management in Toronto, who spoke on behalf of her clients trying to make a living through commercial work. She declined to comment on the ongoing labour negotiations.
Residuals are important because the success of an ad, despite exposing an actor to greater audiences, can also extend the amount of time they’re conflicted from taking on related advertisements. “It can limit them,” Dunlop said. “There is an expectation they can count on a certain amount of money. They’re dependent on that for their livelihood.”
The ICA also proposed expanding a program for lower-budget digital commercials (which allows lower payments to actors) to include television. The proposal also included expanding the range of production budgets for the program, raising the eligibility threshold from $75,000 to $300,000.
ACTRA officials wrote in a slide that this would account for “most commercials,” and would result in actors receiving just $1,000 to account for both the shoot and residuals for a year of unlimited use of the ad – resulting in an 80-to-90-per-cent cut in fees. Given the time needed for actors to avoid conflicts of interest, this could reduce some actors’ commercial income to just $1,000 for as long as 18 months.
The slides also show that the commercial-agency group asked for an exception for the use of union actors in social-media ad campaigns, particularly if they could rely on user-generated content.
The National Commercial Agreement is also signed by a third party, the Association of Canadian Advertisers, which has renewed its side of the contract with ACTRA for two one-year terms.
Earlier this year, the federal government came under fire for relying on ICA member Cossette, which at the time was using non-ACTRA labour for much of its advertising during the ICA dispute. But in April, Cossette signed a temporary agreement to work with ACTRA actors through the end of 2023.
Ireland’s commercial property market slowed sharply in the first half of the year, as the value and volume of deals dropped significantly.
The €954 million invested in the sector in the first half of 2023 was down almost 48 per cent when compared to the 10-year average. Only 51 deals took place in the period, down more than a third on the average. The data was revealed in JLL research tracking the investment market.
Retail was the strongest performing sector in the €333 million worth of property deals, spread across 25 transactions, that took place in the second quarter, accounting for €146 million of the total. Retail parks were a particular draw for investors, with an off-market retail park deal accounting for the second-largest investment in the quarter, at €46 million. The B&Q retail warehouse in Dublin’s Liffey Valley was bought for around €27 million.
The largest investment was a private rented sector investment for €55 million.
Office investments fared much worse, seeing their poorest volumes since the first quarter of 2012. Less than €42 million was invested in three transactions, with a Harcourt Street property accounting for the bulk of that at €34 million.
JLL said the sector was lagging the broader market amid questions over the future performance of such assets. The company predicted a turbulent second half for the office sector as the post-pandemic work environment and high interest rates continue to cause unrest.
“It has been a difficult first half of the year, particularly for the office sector. Ireland is by no means unique in that regard, with declining transaction volumes in the sector across the globe,” said John Moran, chief executive and head of capital markets at JLL Ireland. “Encouragingly, PRS [the private rented sector] is remaining resilient albeit for smaller lot sizes, and retail has enjoyed its most buoyant period for a number of years.”
The research did point to some more positive signs, including the prospect of the end of interest rate hikes, and the move by some businesses to a return to the office long-term.
“The peak of the interest rate hikes is in sight,” said Niall Gargan, head of research at JLL Ireland. “After such a rapid and aggressive period of tightening, it is anticipated that the start of the unwinding cycle could potentially begin in 2024.
“Finally, confidence measures are beginning to bottom out and are also anticipated to improve by 2024. The current trend is positive when looking at key sentiment indicators, and the period ahead looks better than the one behind.”
- It has emerged hospital consultants can do lucrative private work while on strike
- British Medical Association (BMA) said members are free to earn extra money
Hospital consultants were tonight accused of giving patients ‘a kick in the teeth’ after it emerged they can do lucrative private work while on strike.
It means the senior doctors – on average NHS incomes of £128,000 – can profit from the misery caused by their two-day walkout next month.
The British Medical Association (BMA) today said its members would be free to earn extra money by carrying out private surgery and consultations during the strike. Patient groups described the BMA’s stance as ‘unconscionable’.
Health leaders have warned a ‘double whammy’ of industrial action by consultants and junior doctors will cause disruption to ‘many thousands’ of patients and is a ‘huge risk’ for the NHS to manage.
Junior doctors will strike for five days from July 13 to 18, in the longest walkout in the history of the NHS, before consultants walk out on July 20 and 21.
Both groups are seeking an inflation-busting pay rise of 35 per cent. The combined action is likely to lead to the cancellation of more than 300,000 appointments, hampering efforts to clear record waiting lists of more than 7.4 million.
The BMA said consultants will be ‘perfectly able’ to do private practice if they are not contracted to do NHS work on strike days.
Those who are rostered to do routine NHS work, such as outpatient appointments and elective operations, can decide to ‘withdraw their labour’ and choose to provide private care instead.
However, those who are due to be ‘on call’ cannot do private work as they must remain available for emergencies, as part of the BMA’s agreement to provide a ‘Christmas Day’ service.
Tory MP Paul Bristow, who sits on the Commons health and social care committee, said: ‘How can it be right that in a middle of a strike, some consultants will be cashing in? This is a kick in the teeth for patients waiting for life-changing surgery.
‘The BMA need to get round the table and negotiate on behalf of their members.’
Fellow Conservative MP Ben Bradley added: ‘This is rank hypocrisy. It’s about time the BMA put patients first and called off the strikes.’
Consultants already do more than 800,000 private procedures each year, official figures show, with many cashing in on the rising demand for private healthcare fuelled by record NHS waiting lists.
They typically charge £2,500 for the likes of hip and knee replacements or cataract surgery, £250 for an initial consultation and £150 for follow-up checks, according to the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN). Some charge much more.
Patients have to pay the consultants’ fees plus extra charges to the hospitals where their procedures take place.
The statutory body, which collates data on private healthcare, said 12,200 consultants conducted private procedures last year. There were 820,000 private in-patient and day-case admissions in 2022, which is more than any year since it began collecting data.
Consultants announced the strike on Tuesday after 86 per cent backed the move in a ballot, on a turnout of 71 per cent. They will provide only a bare-bones ‘Christmas Day’ service, meaning they will deliver emergency care but most routine treatment will be cancelled.
Dennis Reed, director of Silver Voices, which campaigns for the elderly, said: ‘For consultants to use a strike as an opportunity to increase private practice is unconscionable.
‘Consultants are not hard up and a lot of elderly people are on a pension that is a small fraction of these doctors’ income, so will be less supportive of them than they were of nurses.’
The BMA said: ‘If a consultant is not contracted to work for the NHS on strike days, then they can either support the strike – via picket lines or a locally organised rally – or if they are among the minority of consultants who have a private practice or a private patient list elsewhere on that day, they are able to go and do that work.
‘For consultants who are contracted to work for the NHS on strike days, only those who are on call will be expected to be available to provide the level of cover agreed – the ‘Christmas Day’ cover.
‘Consultants who are contracted to do NHS work, but not provide cover, have the ability to work in a private setting on strike days if they wish.
‘However, we’d recommend they support the industrial action and remain available to the NHS in case the strike is called off due to the Government returning with a credible offer.’
By Anthony Anderson For Nca Newswire
06:00 15 May 2023, updated 06:00 15 May 2023
- CEO slammed employees working from home
- She labelled work culture ‘selfish’
A Sydney chief executive officer has blasted those working from home as ‘selfish’.
CR Commercial Property Group CEO and managing director Nicole Duncan called in to 2GB Mornings on Monday to comment on people’s ability to work from home.
‘This generation is just selfish,’ Ms Duncan told host Ben Fordham, describing herself as someone ‘passionate about people returning to work’.
‘In our younger days we caught trains, buses, ferries to get to work,’ she said.
‘Yes it did take two or three hours, but you’ve got to be in the office.
‘You don’t know what you don’t know, and until CEOs make a decision … it’s not going to change.’
She went on to describe how she believed companies allowing employees to work from home was hurting businesses in busy city centres like Sydney’s CBD.
‘Hotels are suffering … there’s less business travel, they do it all on (Microsoft) Teams … cleaners, people who make your coffee, lunches, all of those sorts of things.
‘We want a vibrant city for visitors to come to, and it needs to look busy, it needs to look vibrant, it doesn’t need to look as slow and rambling.’
Ms Duncan pointed out there were distractions when working from home.
Fordham argued there were distractions at work too before agreeing that Sydney’s CBD had reduced foot traffic.
Working from home became a regular part of life during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The directive to work from home turned city centres into ghost towns with cafes and restaurants forced to close down for good due to reduced business.
Hectares of city centre office spaces were left vacant, with commercial office vacancy rates reaching double-digit figures two years after the pandemic broke out.
Since then many companies have changed their policies, allowing employees to continue working from home.
Sydneysiders have slowly been returning to the office but many businesses allow hybrid work routines.
Some employees have agreed to come into the office for a certain number of days a week and work from home on the remaining days.
Global property consulting firm JLL’s latest data showed commercial real estate investment in the region contracted by 30 per cent year-on-year during the March quarter to $27 billion.
Japan outperformed the rest of the region, notching $8.9 billion in investment activity for the first quarter. The figures are up 4.7 per cent year-on-year, supported by a surge of office offloading by Japanese corporates and acquisition activity by J-Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).
In contrast, Australia registered $3.7 billion in transactions, down 26 per cent year-on-year as office volumes responded to the ongoing impact of hybrid work.
Notably, JLL’s latest Future of Work research showed Australia’s corporate real estate leaders’ view of the workplace is evolving as the hybrid work model continues to rise in popularity, with 45 per cent of CRE executives viewing “collaborative working” as the primary purpose of office space.
Moving to other parts of the region, data showed China investment volumes reached $6.9 billion in the first quarter, representing a decline of 17 per cent year-on-year, with limited activity outside Shanghai.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong transactions moderated to $1.6 billion as JLL noted the majority of the deals executed during the period were primarily small and mid-sized private capital transactions.
In Singapore, investment volumes also declined sharply by 67 per cent annually to $1.9 billion, driven by limited activity in the office and retail sectors, compared to a high base in the previous year.
Stuart Crow, chief executive for JLL’s capital markets in APAC, has commented on the “challenging” nature of the market, highlighting investors’ concerns that the tightening of lending standards will create additional uncertainty in the commercial real estate sector.
Notably, all major sectors of APAC’s commercial market took a hit in the recent quarter.
Office market investments fell to $12.7 billion from $17.3 billion a year earlier, one of the sector’s softest quarters on record, as interest rate hikes and asset repricing affected trading.
Similarly, investment volumes in the logistics and industrial sectors fell by 24 per cent annually as the number of $100 million-plus transactions declined due to a new cycle of price discovery and funding challenges.
Investment activity remained muted in the retail sector, recording $5.3 billion worth of transactions in the first quarter of 2023 — below the five-year quarterly average of $7.5 billion. In the first quarter of the year, large-scale shopping mall trades also largely disappeared in the region.
Investment in the Asia-Pacific region’s hotel market totalled $2.4 billion for the quarter, down 30 per cent year-on-year, despite a strong rebound in hotel trading performance, as macroeconomic influences weighed on sentiment.
Despite investment down by a significant margin and market players bracing themselves for the stormy weather ahead, Mr Stuart said, “Asia Pacific remains more insulated and we’re confident that liquidity risk is well contained in the region and a resumption of activity is a matter of when, and not if.”
According to Pamela Ambler, head of investor intelligence for Asia Pacific at JLL, the region may be lagging behind in the current price adjustment cycle, but she does not expect prices to see a significant correction.
“We expect the level of repricing to peak in the second quarter of 2023 and then moderate in the latter half of this year, as borrowing costs are expected to come off with potential rate cuts going forward,” she concluded.