The urban/rural divide
Recovery of the so-called "executive home market" in Dublin in 2012 came after the re-emergence of residential cash investors back in 2011. In fact, this small but significant sector saw demand return almost a year before first-time buyers could be tempted to dip their toes in the property pool. What is perhaps not surprising to many is that this trend did not continue outside of the main urban centres.
Some regional cities saw higher priced homes linger on the market, waiting for the right buyer with the right budget to come along and fall in love.
Waterford city and Kilkenny city both boast some stunning, aspirational, architecturally-designed homes that fall outside of the buying capacity for the majority of home buyers in the area.
According to Kilkenny-based auctioneer Warren McCreery, the executive homes market, particularly in Kilkenny, is deceptively narrow in terms of choice and availability. "There is a better choice and good value for money as one moves further outside the towns of Kilkenny and Carlow. Larger executive-type homes offer families good living space with ample grounds."
By way of example, McCreery is selling a modern, purpose-built Bed & Breakfast, now family home (pictured below) that sits on two acres of manicured lawns on the Carlow/Kilkenny border for the guide price of €465,000. This is less than the price of the average two-bed apartment in the Dublin Docklands area. With the ever-improving road infrastructure making this, and similarly located homes, within an hour of the Red Cow roundabout, it is difficult to justify the value gulf.
Of course, this price gap extends the further outside of the commuter belt house-hunters dare to venture. Local authorities made strides in the midlands region in the early stages of the market recovery to improve broadband and to make telecommuting facilities available to Dublin-based companies and their Midlands-based employees. It is difficult to gauge the impact that this initiative had on the local property market but it might well be worth re-visiting.