Tighter controls for Irish domiciled property funds are being considered by the country’s Central Bank.

The bank said it had identified the need to “explore possible macroprudential policy interventions” for property funds, following the publication of a note looking at how Irish property funds’ investment in Irish commercial real estate has grown in recent years.

The Central Bank will look specifically at Irish-domiciled alternative investment funds, leverage limits, options to limit liquidity mismatches and other measures to “strengthen the property fund sector’s overall resilience to future shocks”.

Deputy governor Sharon Donnery said: “The growth of Irish property funds since the global financial crisis has brought with it many benefits, including the diversification of financing channels for commercial real estate away from domestic investors towards international investors, and a reduced reliance on debt financing intermediated by Irish retail banks. This increases risk sharing and reduces domestic interconnectedness. However, an implication of this structural trend is that it increases the sensitivity of the Irish commercial real estate market to global shocks.”

She added: “Given the growth of Irish property funds in recent years, the resilience of this form of financial intermediation matters more today for the overall functioning of the commercial real estate market than it did a decade ago.”

The Central Bank said it was now planning a “comprehensive macroprudential framework for the non-bank sector”, which would run alongside current residential mortgage rules and a capital regime that would alter the supply of credit available depending on economic conditions.

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