Sunday 25 June 2017

Cork City North Suburbs: Severe shortage of starter homes

Ros na Laoi, Richmond Wood, Glanmire was sold for €710,000
Ros na Laoi, Richmond Wood, Glanmire was sold for €710,000

Sunday's Well has knocked Montenotte off pole position as this year's nominated property 'hotspot'. The reverse happened last year with very little to separate these two upper-crust suburbs.

Both locations remain the 'go to' choice for well-off professional buyers, but the combination of increased interest from top Apple and other foreign execs in Sunday's Well, and a slight increase in supply in Montenotte, means the former just about edges it for our Cork expert, Michael O'Donovan, in terms of which locale is likely to generate most competition and likely to see capital-values increase most.

There's a difficulty in assessing this market, given the sheer diversity of homes in the area. From vast mansions of the above two locations to the more modest, affordable Corpo-built houses in Knocknaheeny, the stock varies wildly. Even in Sunday's Well, there tend to be very large homes and lots of cottages, with very little available in between.

Overall, the north suburbs are heading for an 8pc value increase this year on the back of ongoing supply issues. However, smaller homes in some locations are likely to increase by much more, given the severe shortage of starters.

According to Savills expert O'Donovan, a good number of medical professionals are on the move at the moment in the north suburbs - the better parts of which have always been a magnet for members of the medicine and law professions, particularly. There have been job opportunities at UCC and CIT and, of course, Apple is in the midst of a big expansion plan.

With location loyalty strong, adult children returning to the area have tended to make up a big portion of the market here. Better-heeled parents mean they have had an edge these last few years in terms of familial financial assistance. For this reason, smaller houses and even apartments are likely to increase by more than the average here. Three-bed terraces have already added 12pc, to bring them over the €150,000 mark and are likely to add another 10pc in 2017. Two-bed apartments have moved up 10pc in the last 12 months to take them through the €100k barrier (€105,000) and are likely to rise by another 10pc by the end of this year.

Activity levels are up, with more purchasers about, and first-time buyers accounted for most of it. "These are not generally your typical first-time buyers; they are much older and generally a good bit more affluent," says O'Donovan. It is also these suburban target areas in particular that produce many of the newly priced-out first-timers, who have chosen to turn to trendy city-centre terraces instead for a temporary first foot on the ladder, with a view to trading up eventually - back again to the north suburbs.

The standard north-suburban semi has increased its value by 8pc in the last year to €227,000 and close to €300,000 in some of the better locations. They are likely to add another 8pc in current market conditions before the year is out. New-home schemes were scant - much of the problem here - and those that did appear were snapped up. For example, Ashmount Mews, close to Mayfield, saw its third phase sell out within days. Two-bed apartments and three-bed townhouses were selling at €150,000 to €250,000.

One significant ongoing development providing homes in the area is Mitchell's Court - 143 homes in all, which are coming on stream at Kerry Pike. The location is close to Apple and northwest of Sunday's Well. There, prices have been upwards of €530,000 for top-end properties from 2,272 sq ft.

In phased schemes, prices are tending to rise every time.

Meantime, Knocknaheeny continues to see reasonable sales levels with almost no supply. Incoming UCC staff and personnel continue to drift to St Luke's in particular.

Rents have been moving up aggressively in tandem with demand, with an 8pc increase experienced over the last 12 months. You're now looking at €1,200 to €1,300 per month for a three-bed semi in Glanmire.

Irish Independent


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