West County Dublin: 'Investors buying apartments, not houses'
Prices rose by 8pc in Dublin West County following a previous fall of 2pc in prices in the year to January 2016 while the investor is back buying around the north county area.
David Lewis of Sherry Fitzgerald Lewis is predicting further significant increase in value over the first six to nine months of the year, after which prices should level out again as a greater number of new home schemes come on stream in the area.
"We may even see growth of 10pc in the first three-quarters of the year," he says. "people who didn't think they had saved enough for a deposit now find that they have it thanks to the changes in deposit requirements in November."
When Adamstown is finished, it will have 10,000 homes, but only 2,500 have been completed to date, says Lewis. "Castlethorn is back on site, they launched 70 homes in November and they all sold over a weekend. There are continuations being finished in Rathcoole and there is a significant amount of housing under construction in Maynooth. This may unlock houses in Lucan as people move out to bigger homes, further out."
At the beginning of last year, Lewis reports that the first-time buyer market suffered badly as a result of the Central Bank's lending rules.
"Prices are still down 30pc on their peak," he says. "Further growth will leave people out of negative equity and mean that people living with children in apartments will be able to move."
Apartments are now selling well with investors encouraged by strong yields of 7pc to 8pc as well as a real chance of capital appreciation. "Investors are definitely back," says Lewis, "and they are buying apartments rather than houses as there is less maintenance involved and they are cheaper to put right after a tenant moves out."
In terms of a hotspot in Dublin West, Lewis says that house in the Finnstown estate built in 1997 are in demand, with three-bed semis now priced at between €310 - 315k. Griffeen Glen is another estate that is much sought after.
"Houses there are being bought by people from Rathfarnham and Templeogue who intended to go back there but found that they couldn't afford to. The new homes at Rokeby Park are selling well too, mainly to people trading up from Laraghcon next door.
"Traditionally, Lucan hasn't been associated with houses costing €800k. The gardens are three times the size in Rokeby Park, that's the big appeal."
Lewis says that another issue affecting the market in Dublin West is that the Housing Agency is going head to head with first time buyers, and approaching receivers direct.
"They are buying one-off houses in established estates. That's going to be a factor this year. The banks haven't yet released everything that they have onto the market (stressed units), as many properties are bogged down in legals. It takes six or nine months before they get them on the market. I think that lots of the 40,000 empty houses in Dublin are on the books of the banks."