Irish SME Property Exposure: What Do We Know?

Fergal McCann, Tara McIndoe-Calder


An overhang relating to the pre-crisis property investment of Irish Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) has been identified as a potential drag on a recovery in employment, investment and output. This paper aims to provide information from survey and loan-level data which can help to quantify the extent of firms’ property-related borrowing. Survey data show that a minimum of one-fifth of Irish SMEs have direct exposure to property debt. Loan-level data show that at least 10 per cent of firms with bank debt have exposure to property investment at the same bank, with this figure rising to 16 per cent when including Buy-To-Let mortgages for a subset of the data. Data on loan default suggest that property-related borrowing has had a detrimental impact on firms: SMEs with property-related borrowings have a loan default rate of 43 per cent, compared to 23 per cent for those without property exposure.


SMEs; property; Ireland

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