By Michael Kinsella, orignally published in the WexfordPeople.ie
The New Year is generally a good time to reflect on the property market. End of year industry reports are given a more positive glow and the holiday season dampens even the most cynical thinking. Of course, the difficulty with lending statistics or cost of housing reports is that their headlines can often hide local trends behind national or even regional averages, and this is largely unhelpful to people thinking of buying or selling property locally.
Taking the South East region in isolation, it is clear that the volume of transactions in counties Wexford and Wicklow last year is likely to be on par with 2016 figures (1,626 and 1,443 for each respective county). The value of properties have increased in both counties, with prices in Wexford rising at a rate higher than in many other parts of the country. By October, the average house price in Wicklow stood at €315,994 while the same in Wexford was €195,480.
Mortgage lending continues to grow, however, supply remains the single greatest challenge to housing. As we enter 2018, there are just over a thousand homes for sale across all of County Wexford, with barely 100 available to rent. These are unprecedentedly low figures and the market across County Wicklow is even more stretched, with 600 homes for sale and fewer than 85 available for rent, according to the main property portals Daft.ie and MyHome.ie.
Clearly this is positive news for sellers of second-hand homes, where we have seen consistent demand for well-priced, well-presented family homes over the past two to three years. This looks set to continue and, indeed, get stronger as levels of available stock decrease.
Much of the optimism for first-time buyers is focused on the New Homes market. With 10 active new housing developments currently selling across Wexford, many of these ready to launch their second phases, the north of the county is fast becoming a credible alternative for buyers priced out of the capital. Improved infrastructure and the M11 in particular has played a huge part in this.
Across County Wicklow, there are 18 active new developments, with the majority of homes available in Rathdrum and Wicklow Town. The Help-to-Buy (HTB) scheme is paramount to the success of new homes. It certainly assists first-time buyers in gathering their deposit – 5% of the price of a new home, up to a maximum of €20,000 – and this has also given the residential building industry and its funders the confidence to increase house building. The flow of much-needed new homes is expected to improve further over the next twelve months as first-time buyers compromise commuting times for more affordable homes.
On a nationwide basis, there are twice as many buy-to-let investors selling as buying. This is further diminishing the rental stock in every county in Ireland, putting further pressure on the housing market for both social and private tenants. While there are many reasons for this – for example, new regulations introduced in July raised the legal standards of accommodation – the value of rent is at the highest level ever recorded in the Irish market. This, coupled with credit available for buy-to-let mortgages for the first time in close to a decade, will likely encourage local investors to buy up the more affordable houses and apartments.
2018 will be an interesting year and, while new homes will definitely play a big part of property sales, second-homes will continue to dominate the market.
If you are considering buying or selling in the South Wicklow and North Wexford areas in 2018, call into one of our offices (located in Carnew and Gorey) and chat to any of our expert team or you can contact us online at kinsellaestates.ie. We are happy to facilitate overseas buyers and sellers via Skype or similar, outside of regular office hours.
Alternatively, email me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone : +353 53 94 21718