DEMAND FOR property in the Garden County remains strong and the average price of a three-bed semi-detached house in Wicklow was €275,591 in the first six months of this year, according to a new Residential Property Price Barometer published by IPAV, the Institute of Professional Auctioneers & Valuers.
This compares with a price for a similar property of €90,000 in Longford, €145,000 in Wexford, €358,000 in North County Dublin and €511,667 in South County Dublin, the study finds. It covers prices achieved for homes sold and will be published every six months.
Wicklow’s place in the commuter belt was also documented as the study revealed that building has also picked up.
With lower site and other costs in commuter counties building activity has increased in response to demand and this demand is reflected in prices in Wicklow where three-bed semis fetch €275,591, Kildare where they average €235,000 and Meath where the cost is €239,000.
Also in Wicklow, the average price of a twobed apartment stands at €202,750 or €2,611 per square metre, while the cost of a four-bed semi-detached house averages at €344,036 or €2,711 per square metre. This compares with respective prices of €83,334 and €171,667 in neighbouring Wexford and €151,000 and €281,000 over the border in Kildare.
According to Eugene Dooley of Dooley Poynton Auctioneers in Wicklow town, the market is steady and supply is good while buyers are more discerning and more organised and knowledgeable than ever before.
‘ There is a huge demand for new homes, especially for first time buyers because of the €20,000 Help to Buy scheme and we are looking at around €280,000-€295,000 for these. There is also good interest in secondhand homes, which, for a three-bed semi, are fetching anywhere between €235,000 and €275,000. People want family homes close to the schools and they see Wicklow and Arklow as being much more affordable than Greystones and Bray while still being close to Dublin,’ Mr Dooley said.
He added that while there is ‘good interest’ in areas including new developments The Friary, Hudson View and Friar’s Hill, today’s buyers are not rushing into anything.
‘ Today’s buyers are extremely discerning and they use all the tools available to them in terms of pricing to ensure they are getting a fair deal. Those who are looking to buy already have mortgage approval and, because of this, the buying time has been roughly reduced by a month.’
He added that Wicklow and further south of the county are popular with those who wish to downsize and get better value for money.
Pat Davitt, IPAV’s Chief Executive, said while the homeless numbers grow and secondhand properties can be bought in several areas of the country for less that the cost of building them, some parts of the Dublin market are on the way to reaching or even topping the high levels last seen in 2007.
‘ This is what happens when stock is so scarce with just a small number of the larger builders developing. Up to 50 per cent of purchasers are still buying properties without a mortgage.’
He said the forthcoming Budget is an opportunity for the Government to address some of the major impediments that are keeping the housing market in what he called ‘dysfunctional territory.’
He called on the Government to address this situation and to bring radical new measures to rapidly increase housing supply.
‘Such must involve lowering three things – the cost of building, the cost of building finance and the myriad of local authority impediments to building.’
Mr Davitt said IPAV is also calling on the Government to retain the Help-to-Buy (HTB) scheme.
‘Last week’s comments by the Chief Executive of the Housing Agency to the effect that it’s very disruptive announcing things, starting and stopping them, were well made. That has certainly been an issue impacting confidence in house building,’ he said.
‘Any curtailment of the HTB scheme now would have a negative effect on housing supply and would further damage the rental market. The scheme, however, should be extended to second hand properties outside of Dublin to help bridge the gap in house prices between second hand and new homes and so encourage builders to build outside of Dublin.’
Mr Davitt also said that Irish interest rates continue to be too high. ‘Many with mortgages, particularly those taken out in recent years, will never have experienced interest rate increases. It may be new to them in 2018, especially given that the influential German economy is powering ahead. However, interest rates here are still way ahead of the European norm with very little competition in the Irish market, not to mention the absence of real long-term fixed interest rates. The norm here for fixed rates is two to three years while in other countries rates can be fixed for 20 years, or in some cases for the lifetime of a mortgage.’
He said recent reports that the entry into Ireland of the German community orientated bank, Sparkasse, is being met with less than enthusiasm by officialdom because of its likely impact on Irish pillar banks are ‘worrying’.
A chart from IPAV’s new Residential Property Price Barometer indicating average prices across the country.