Ireland’s property market may be suffering, but one man has shown that good things can come out of the Eurozone crisis: specifically, a house.
Artist Frank Buckley has built an entire home out of euros, using decommissioned notes from the Central Bank. In total, the currency used for construction is worth €1.4 billion, “slightly more than the amount unsecured bondholders in the former Anglo Irish Bank are to receive this week”, according to The Irish Times.
The home, converted from an empty office in Dublin, contains one bedroom plus a living room and bathroom, with a shower and kitchen on the way. Buckley started building the property in December last year and has since spent 12 hours each day assembling it. He expects to finish in the next seven weeks.
The house is made from shredded euro notes worth €1.4 billion
(Photo credit: Irish Times / Brenda Fitzsimons )
It was originally intended as a gallery by Buckley, but the house has since caught the eye of many onlookers – unsurprisingly, given that the walls and carpets are made of money and decommissioned coins decorate the interiors. Now, Buckley’s home is being recognised as a commentary on the euro, the den highlighting the debt crisis that the single currency has caused.
"Buckley was given a 100 percent mortgage at the peak of the boom to buy a 365,000 euro home… despite the fact he had no steady income", explains Reuters. That house, owned by his ex-wife, has now lost over one-third of its value as Ireland's real estate continues to suffer following the burst of the property bubble in 2007.
Despite his new home's currency value, it was comparatively cheap to create: thanks to donations of lumber from a local building company, Buckley’s only major expense was €35, which he spent on wallpaper.
"I just felt there needs to be a debate on this," he told The Irish Times. "Kids in school need to come down and see and get talking about it. What does currency mean?"
For overseas property buyers, the declining value of the currency against the English pound may actually mean good news.
With euro exchange rates near a 16-month high for Brits sending money abroad and property prices under pressure, investors can get 8 per cent more for their money, according to Currency Index. Indeed, the company reports a 32 per cent year-on-year increase in the volume of euros transferred by clients to Spain in December 2011 as Brits remain keen on second homes abroad.
"Many of our clients have been asking whether it is safe to buy and send euros abroad – and while the situation is far from resolved, the European Central Bank will not allow the Eurozone to collapse," assures Robin Haynes, managing director of Currency Index.
The EU summit today is likely to see Eurozone leaders agreeing extensions to the single currency stability measures, Haynes suggests, as well as a new fiscal pact, which should ensure that tax and spending are at least put in line to protect debts from growing unsustainably.
"Even if Greece were to default on its debts and leave the euro, local chaos from a devaluing Greek currency would not be likely to affect the euro's own future," adds Haynes.
And, of course, if the single currency does eventually collapse, Frank Buckley's home in Dublin could always use a conservatory.
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