Homes selling in just weeks despite 44pc price hike
It takes an average of just seven weeks to sell a typical family home - despite prices rises of up to 44pc in past year.
As Ireland rebounds from the property crash the rush to buy means that in some parts of the country three bed semi-detached houses are selling less than a month after the 'for sale' sign goes up.
Semi-detached houses, the staple for families living in Irish towns and cities, and the property type most in demand, have seen their values rising on average by 21pc nationwide according to a study commissioned by the Irish Independent.
The Real Estate Alliance Average House Index, which concentrates on Ireland's typical stock home, the three-bed semi, shows homes in counties surrounding Dublin saw prices surge as buyers moved out from the city in search of affordable property.
At the same time the market for family homes in Cork city and Galway rebounded strongly.
County Laois, where prices were particularly badly hit during the downturn, saw the price of semis in its main towns rocket by 43.75pc in the 12 months to the end of December 2014.
Markets which prices rise by one third or more included Meath (35.5pc) Westmeath (33.3pc), Cork city (35.9pc) Longford (37.5pc), and Galway city (33.3pc).
This was in complete contrast to Dublin's performance. Although semis in the Dublin City, South County and North County turned in price rises for the year of 21.6pc, 19pc and 20pc respectively, city sales flatlined in the last quarter of the year with the collective markets rising by just 0.89pc in the last quarter.
The study showed that one area, the substantial western suburb of Lucan where three bed semis were built in huge numbers, saw prices fall by 7pc.
While the time it takes to sell a property rose in Dublin to six weeks, homes in Cork City now sell in just three weeks on average, the shortest time it takes to sell a property nationally.
The average three-bed semi in Dublin is now selling at €379,167, an increase of just over €3,000 on the third quarter of last year, as the market in the capital stalled between October and December.
This price is almost twice that of the commuter county stock, and 2.5 times that of the average rural semi, which is priced at €147,587.
"Our survey shows that in all areas of Dublin, parts of Cork city, Galway city, North Wicklow and Kildare, the price of the average semi-detached house exceeds the Central Bank's new threshold of €220,000 at which banks can lend 90pc of the value," said Real Estate Alliance CEO Philip Farrell.
"Traditionally the capital is the first to rise and slow down in any turning market, and we have seen this in Q4, particularly in popular first-time buyer markets like the Lucan area.
"Much of this is due to the air of uncertainty that surrounded the introduction of the new Central Bank lending restrictions, and now that we have clarity here, we should see a return to a more normal market."
However, despite the Central Bank fuelled hiccough, he said prices in Dublin could be expected to rise through 2015 albeit at a much more stable pace.
"We expect prices to rise by 6pc this year in Dublin. This is in comparison to our nationwide average expectation of a nine per cent rise in property prices in 2015."
Just 38pc of all property sales nationwide are distressed, down from 43pc in December 2013, but slightly up on the September 2014 figure of 37pc.
But the biggest change in buying habits in 2014 has been the return of the banks to the marketplace with the amount of cash transactions dropping from an average of 66pc in December 13 to 44pc in December 2014.
"Dublin has shown the greatest increase in mortgage transactions. In September 2014, 43pc of all sales in Dublin were cash buyers, whereas by the close of the year, this had dropped to 29pc," said Philip Farrell.
This figure dropped from 39pc to 35pc in the commuter belt and other cities but fell just three points from 48pc to 45pc in the rest of the country, as buyers with available funds continued to purchase properties they perceive as good value.