HIGH DE­MAND SEES PRICE OF A THREE-BED SEMI REACH €275K

THE PROP­ERTY MAR­KET IN WICK­LOW IS STEADY BUT BUY­ERS ARE MORE PRE­PARED AND MORE DIS­CERN­ING, WRITES DEB­O­RAH COLE­MAN

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS -

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.

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