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Recalling the Celtic Tiger

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Edited By Eamon Maher, Eugene O'Brien and Brian Lucey

This book looks at various effects, symptoms and consequences of the period in Irish culture known as the Celtic Tiger. It will trace the critical pathway from boom to bust – and up to the current beginnings of a similar, smaller boom – through events, personalities and products. The short entries offer a sense of the lived experience of this seismic period in contemporary Irish society.

While clearly not all aspects of the period could realistically be covered, the book does contain essential information about the central actors, events, themes, and economic trends, which are discussed in a readable and accessible manner. Each entry is linked to the overall Celtic Tiger phenomenon and its immediate aftermath.

The book also provides a comprehensive account of what happened in this period and will be a factual resource for anyone anxious to discover information on the areas most commonly connected to it. All entries are written by experts in the area. The contributors include broadcasters, economists, cultural theorists, sociologists, literary critics, journalists, politicians and writers, each of whom brings particular insights to some aspect of the Celtic Tiger.

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Negative Equity (Darragh Flannery)

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Darragh Flannery

Negative Equity

Negative equity is the term used when the value of an asset is below the outstanding debt of the asset. In the context of the Irish economy, this concept became prominent within the housing sector as property prices fell by over 50% on average across the period 2008–13 (Byrne et al., 2018). Such a sudden fall in property prices inevitably led to a rise in cases of negative equity for homeowners in Ireland, rising from 9% of households in 2008 to 30% by 2010 (Duffy, 2010). This peaked at 36% (~240,000) and 55% (~50,000) of residential and buy-to-let loans respectively in 2012 (Central Bank of Ireland, 2018).

At the household level, being in negative equity may have no material impact if the owner intends to own the property for a number of years; in this case, they may simply wait for the price of the property to increase again in the future. However, the existence of negative equity can have significant implications for a household if they need to sell the property, perhaps due an inability to service the debt arising from an unexpected income shock such as unemployment. In this scenario, selling the house will not cover the debt owed, and so the lender has a level of bad debt to take on, or the borrower must use savings to clear the debt or possibly even declare bankruptcy. This has clear implications for the broader economy,...

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