House prices outside capital show first signs of recovery
THE first tentative signs of a property market recovery outside of the capital are emerging, latest property sales reveals.
While prices in the capital are tipped to rise by a further 10pc over 2014/2015, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford are now showing the first signs of significant recovery in the housing market since the crash seven years ago.
In Cork, overall property transactions between 2013 and 2014 have soared by up to 17 per cent compared with the previous 12 months.
But this growth has been dwarfed by the rise in property sales in Galway, where there has been a 32 per cent rise in transactions last year when compared with 2012.
An analysis of the Property Price Register reveals there were some 1,500 sales in Galway city and county last year, with the market growing at almost twice the pace recorded in the same period in the capital.
Sales in Limerick and Waterford have been far slower, though local estate agents are hopeful of recording single-digit increases this year.
Similar to Dublin, the growth in Cork, Limerick and Waterford is largely a result of sales of prestige properties. As is also the case in the capital, there is an acute shortage of middle-income family homes.
The number of quality houses in specific areas is insufficient to match current buyer demand – with areas such as the Dunmore Road in Waterford, Douglas and Rochestown in Cork, and Garryowen in Limerick mirroring similar shortages in areas like Blackrock, Terenure and Donnybrook in Dublin.
"Location has never been more important in terms of selling a property, John Rohan of Sherry FitzGerald Rohan told the Sunday Independent.
Coastal properties are in particular demand with overseas buyers who entered the market in force in 2010, attracted by the greatly reduced prices being brought about as a result of the downturn. Kinsale is one of Cork's most in-demand locations, with prices estimated to have surged by 10 per cent over the past 18 months alone.
However, it is in terms of the overall value of transactions completed that the famous seaside town and Ireland's self-proclaimed 'gourmet capital' hints at a significant recovery. Last year the total value of property transactions in Kinsale was up by a staggering 116 per cent on 2012.
Recent high-profile sales include the 'dream home' built by Howard Holdings boss Greg Coughlan at Ardbrack for €6m, which fetched €3m around Christmas.
Fastnet House had been on the market for over two years after Mr Coughlan became one of the highest-profile victims of the property market crash.
In other parts of west Cork, such as Glengarriff, Bantry, Schull and Castletownshend, sales activity was up last year by a significant 19.6 per cent.
The value of those same property deals represented a 22.7 per cent hike on 2012.
West Cork auctioneer Henry O'Leary of HOL Property said that houses with prime sea views are being increasingly targeted by overseas investors, usually those from the UK.
Mr O'Leary told the Sunday Independent: "Five or eight years ago about half the properties with sea views or located near the coast were sold to overseas buyers. The other half went to Irish buyers."
However, properties outside of the country's main cities and large towns are still struggling badly, with values in some rural parts of Waterford, Cork and Limerick still down by almost 50 per cent on their Celtic Tiger peak of 2006/2007.
The worst-hit areas are the so-called 'commuter belt' towns and areas dominated by the buy-to-let sector.
"County towns that are 10 or 20 miles outside large urban centres are probably the worst hit. It is still difficult to sell there," Mr Rohan added.