Buyers shy away from plan to sell €150,000 cut-price houses
THREE bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen/diner, only minutes from the city by motorway. It sounds like the ideal family home -- but, even with a price tag of just €150,000, it has attracted no buyers.
The house in Shanowen, Rathcormac, Co Cork, is one of 52 affordable houses that have been put on the market at cut-price rates by Cork County Council as part of a pilot scheme. But so far only 10 of the homes have found buyers.
The houses, which are mainly three-bed semis in semi-rural areas, were put on the market at the beginning of the year.
They are located in small developments in eight towns and villages across north Cork. Many of them have good road connections to Cork city and good local amenities. Despite this, and with asking prices starting at just €130,00, finding buyers is proving difficult.
According to senior housing officer Liz Donovan, the take-up for the houses has not been as good as expected with no offers so far on 35 of the houses, though a further seven are in the process of being sold.
Tom Stritch, director of services with Cork County Council's northern division, says the lack of buyers is due to people's fear to commit in the current climate.
"They are very good houses at good prices. There definitely seems to be a reluctance and nervousness from people about committing to a mortgage right now and of course there's the difficulty in getting a mortgage even if you do want to buy."
Only one house of the 10 available in Mitchesltown has sold so far while in Kanturk just one of the six on offer sold.
In Rathcormac only one of a group of 11 has found a buyer while in Glanworth, all six houses are still on the market.
Fermoy-based auctioneer Michael Barry has several of the houses on his books and says it is simply a fact of life today that it's difficult to sell.
"They are fine houses and they are very well priced. Obviously there wasn't the take-up for affordable housing in the last couple of years that was planned for and now these houses are available on the open market for anyone to buy. We've sold three of them so far but as with any houses now there aren't buyers queuing up like they once were," he said.
According to Liz Donovan if a similar offer was made just three years ago all of the properties would have sold.
She says it is now likely the council will look at leasing the houses out to voluntary bodies such as Respond or Cluid who would lease the houses to social tenants.
Mr Stritch agrees: "If things don't improve then social leasing will probably be the most likely way forward for these properties."