Dream Home: Ireland's property hot spots revealed
The rapid economic recovery has renewed the belief that it's the right time to buy
More houses on the market, more houses being built and more money being lent by the banks for people to buy them.
But when it comes to meeting the demands of Ireland's property buyers, it simply hasn't been enough.
For while there has been something of a slowdown in house price growth in Dublin since the Central Bank tightened up the rules on mortgage lending limits, the latest figures for the capital, its commuter counties and the country's other major cities of Cork, Galway and Limerick speak for themselves.
From the 8.8pc year-on-year increase in the price of a three-bed semi-d in Limerick city to the 21pc and 22pc hikes recorded for a similar property in Wicklow and Dublin 3 respectively, it's clear that the rapid recovery in the country's economic fortunes has renewed people's belief that it's the 'right time to buy' again, and in Ireland's property hotspots particularly.
A survey by the Sunday Independent of Sherry FitzGerald's estate agents in Dublin and across the country bears the numbers out. It also suggests there'll be no let up in demand for homes in the best locations in the near to medium term, and certainly not before the construction industry manages to meet the accepted target of building 30,000 units annually after several years of near inactivity.
So where do people want to buy right now?
In Dublin, estate agents covering Dun Laoghaire, Blackrock, Dalkey, Templeogue and Rathmines are all reporting strong demand for family homes located close to good schools.
In the case of Dun Laoghaire and nearby Glenegeary and Glasthule, local agent Miriam Mulligan says while there is currently a degree of 'price sensitivity' on the part of buyers, the marketing of properties at reduced prices is typically resulting in multiple parties bidding sale prices back up to the vendor's original asking price. In this area of south Dublin, three-bed semi-ds in good condition are averaging €675,000, while four-bed semi-ds are commanding prices of between €850,000 and €875,000.
While asking prices in Dalkey can very quickly run to millions of euro, it is still possible to get a foot on the property ladder there for a six-figure sum. Prices for three-bed semi-ds start from €550,000 and climb steeply to €800,000 depending on the property's proximity to the village. According to local estate agent Simone Rothschild, Sandycove is the most popular location for the prospective buyers on the books of Sherry FitzGerald's Dalkey branch. House prices there are averaging €850,000.
Templeogue-based estate agent Carole Ross says while the 'pent-up' demand for houses has softened slightly in her area, there is still a "very strong demand" for family homes in well-serviced locations close to good schools. Sales are strong in Templeogue and nearby Knocklyon, Rathfarnham and Firhouse.
Portobello is extremely popular among house hunters looking to put down roots between Rathmines and the city centre. Such is the demand for the area's distinctive period properties, a two-bed semi-d will set you back between €550,000 and €600,000, while three-bed semi-ds are asking between €700,000 and €800,000.
Local estate agent Ronan O'Malley says of the market: "There is more choice for buyers and they are taking their time and keeping their options open in relation to a few different properties. It is taking a few weeks longer to sell than in spring 2014 when there was a shortage of properties on the market. Purchasers now have more to look at."
In terms of demand for apartments, properties in Dublin's docklands are very much sought after thanks to the large workforce employed at the IFSC on the northside of the Liffey and the presence of Google, Facebook and numerous other digital giants south of the river. Here an average apartment will set you back in the region of €520,000.
And while local estate agent Patrick George says there have been fewer viewers this year, he adds that they are "serious buyers with cash".
To the west of the city, Castleknock reigns supreme, with detached and semi-detached properties close to Castleknock village and the Phoenix Park standing out. Prices here currently average €700,000.
Closer to Dublin's city centre, Drumcondra and Glasnevin remain very popular, with Griffith Avenue, Iona Road, Shandon in Phibsboro and the Navan Road the stand-out performers. There is a wide variation in prices, with houses on Iona Road commanding around €950,000 compared with the average of €430,000 required to gain a foothold on the Navan Road.
Outside the capital, there has been a surge in demand for homes in the commuter counties of Wicklow, Kildare and Meath.
In Wicklow, Greystones, Delgany, Kilcoole, Kilpedder and Kilquade top the list of property hotspots. Prices between locations vary widely, starting from as low as €200,000 for a house in Kilpedder's Garden Village, and rising to over €1m in the historic Burnaby estate in Greystones.
In Kildare, several towns remain hugely popular with property hunters for a variety of reasons. As a university town, houses in Maynooth are always in demand regardless of the vagaries of the economic cycle. Thanks to the presence of computer giants Intel and Hewlett Packard in Leixlip, houses are consistently at a premium.
Meanwhile, Kildare-based estate agent John O'Reilly says the property market in Naas is thriving. There are a number of new developments in the commuter town, with Oak Glade and Landen Park proving especially popular. Prices in Oak Glade range from €310,000 to €325,000, while prices at Landen Park start from €365,000 for a four-bed semi-d.
While Meath saw a boost in the number of sales in early 2015, local estate agents say the Central Bank's introduction of the 20pc mortgage deposit requirement has slowed the market down somewhat. Despite this, investors have returned to the market with a preference for apartment purchases. Ratoath, Dunboyne and Dunshaughlin are the most popular locations.
Beyond the greater Dublin region, the demand for family homes is strong in the major metropolitans of Cork, Galway and Limerick, according to estate agents on the ground.
In terms of the Cork market, local agent Sheila O'Flynn says: "The market continues to be very active with high demand for good three- and four-bedroom family homes. New developments to look out for include Riverstick and Donnybrook in Douglas.
Demand for property in Galway city and its suburbs has been improving since 2013, according to local estate agent Tony Kavanagh, and is now "healthy and strong". The most popular spots, Kavanagh says, are the established suburbs of Salthill, Taylor's Hill, Kingston, Bushy Park, Knocknacarra, Barna and Newcastle to the west of the city, while to the east, Renmore, Mervue, Ballybrit and Oranmore lead the charge.
Limerick-based estate agent Des O'Malley says he expects prices to rise by 5pc-7pc in Limerick city and its surrounding suburbs over the next 12 months. For first-time buyers, Dooradoyle is the most popular area, with average house prices of €175,000. Those trading up to larger second-hand houses are opting for Castletroy and Monaleen, where average prices are in the region of €315,000.