Good level of activity in local market
IT’S all systems go for the property market in the Model County, with a steady if not dramatic increase in prices and a good level of activity reported, both north and south.
Colum Murphy, the managing director of Kehoe and Associates, said the general feedback at the moment is that all is positive.
‘ The volume of sales has increased and the property values are increasing. There is very good appetite out there for buyers to purchase and mortgages are becoming a little easier to obtain,’ said Column.
‘Just generally the economy is improving and the unemployment figure is down again to 6.3 per cent nationally, so all arrows are pointing in the right direction,’ he said.
Colum said prices were reaching levels where it made financial sense for new builds.
‘ The average price of three-bed semi needs to be in and around €200,000 before it makes sense to build so the next phase will be new developments and show houses and there are a lot of new planning applications in at the moment.
‘ The question is what can the market sustain in the viability in the numbers of new homes,’ he said.
Colum said Wexford town an attractive place to locate to and new bypasses around traffic blackspots in Enniscorthy and New Ross would make it increasingly so and more accessible.
He said the commercial end of the market was moving along very well and he had sold ‘some very nice’ commercial investment properties over the summer.
‘ There is an appetite out there. Consumers are looking at commercial property for a steady return in the medium- to long-term,’ he said.
He said that in Wexford town, there were signs of steady improvement with business properties on the sides streets off Main Street - that were vacated following the crash - filling up again.
‘ There is interest across the board really. Apartments are coming back into vogue at the moment and more people are being tempted because the value of town houses has increased.
And we’ve had quite a few transactions in the €300,000 to €400,000 range in residential which is an improvement.. so there are very encouraging signs out there. Let’s hope its sustainable in the medium to long term, settling into five or six per cent growth which will keep the stake-holders happy,’ he said.
It was a similar story for Wexford town-based auctioneer Benny Sullivan.
‘We’re progressing at a great rate. Since I opened in June of 2016, both my business and the property market are being driven by a buoyant Wexford town.
‘A lot of people are downsizing, which is the order of the day. People are looking for something smaller and easier to manage to enable them to spend more time on themselves and their families and this is creating a demand for smaller houses,’ said Benny.
‘Bigger houses are more difficult to shift and while there is a market for everything at the right price, those around 2,000 to 2,500 square feet are easier to sell at the moment,’ he said.
Benny said ‘Wexford prices are around the right level’.
He said a recent IPAV survey put the average price of a three-bed semi in the county at around €145,000, although he believed that a figure €165,000 was more realistic in Wexford town as ‘ there is still a bit of cash around Wexford’.
Benny said he was finding September a lot busier than last year.
‘It’s onwards and upwards, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day,’ he said.
The auctioneer said there was huge demand for ‘doer-uppers’ particularly from people looking for starter homes.
‘It can be a way for people to start off,’ he said. Benny said that by contrast, the holiday home market was still difficult, with nothing like the prices being experienced in the normal residential market, which meant there were some very keenly-priced holiday homes out there.
Ciara Slattery, the managing director at Gorey-based Warren Estates, said 2017 had been a good year and the past couple of months had been particularly good.
She said there had been a good move on most types of property, with those in the town, and country properties north of Gorey moving quickly, particularly those in the lower price brackets.
‘Country properties over 250,000 to €300,000 are still a struggle, particularly those south of Gorey, but those to the north of the town are piggybacking on Wicklow,’ she said.
Ciara said €255,000, which she had just achieved on a good four-bed semi, was a benchmark for this year and a couple of country sales, but within striking distance of Gorey, had been achieved in excess of €400,000 ‘which would have been a struggle before this year’.
‘Everything is reasonably good and there is still a lot of bank property in terms of receiver sales, probably on a par with last year year, but the market can still be unpredictable,’ she said.
Ciara said sales of holiday homes in the Gorey area had also picked up, with some at Sandycove, Ballymoney, which would have sold for between €185,000 and €190,000, now achieving more than €200,000 with some bought as permanent homes.
She said sales were very price sensitive and most vendors were clued in about what was happening on the ground in terms of job prospects and commuting, both of which influenced prices.
The lack of available houses in New Ross town and its environs is driving purchasers further out into the country, according to John Radford, of Sherry Fitzgerald Radford.
Despite national media reports of huge increases in house prices, the reality in the local market is that prices have been rising steadily, if not dramatically over the past three years, he said.
‘Demand has increased but there is a noticeable lack of supply coming into the market. Prices are restricted by the amount of finance people can get and the lack of wage increases locally. The banks are financing but there are is no new home supply in New Ross so people are not getting the rebate they can get in other towns,’ said John.
His auctioneers handled some deals for development sites so building activity is expected in 2018.
Demand in rural parts of the county and along the coast, in particular, is very strong, with houses selling quickly for between €200,000 and €250,000.
Brexit and the fall in sterling has affected the market, but John said families from the UK are starting to relocate to the area. He has around 2,000 active clients looking at properties in the area, so demand is very high and prices remain relatively low.