Farm Ireland

Sunday 19 November 2017

Site costs slashed as downturn bites

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Residential site prices have plummeted by 50pc or more across the country in the past three years. Rural sites for one-off houses have taken a battering in the past 36 months, with prices now ranging from €20,000 to €70,000 per site.

A guaranteed money-maker during the building boom, sites of 0.5-0.75ac in size regularly sold for between €80,000 and €150,000.

However, the collapse of the housing market has effectively halved the value of a residential site and stalled the site market. Auctioneers across the country say prices have fallen dramatically but there are also fewer buyers and sellers for one-off sites.

In some areas, it is now cheaper to buy a newly built home on a rural site than it would be to build a new home, even though building costs are now considerably reduced.

Stricter planning requirements also mean that farmers are now more careful about selling a site subject to planning permission. They are reluctant to sell a site to someone who is unlikely to have permission granted because the buyer could throw up the site again.

Site prices have plummeted in Co Wexford, where a 0.5-0.75ac site with full planning permission would have sold for up to €140,000 three years ago.

Today, prices have fallen to €45,000-60,000, according to auctioneer Denis Howell from Warren Estates.

Auctioneer Dylan Murtagh, from Murtagh Bros REA, said that although Co Westmeath had one of the most restrictive planning regimes in the country, sites still made up to €100,000 in the boom.

Also Read

The average site price is now €50,000 for a 0.75a rural site, compared to €80,000 to €90,000 in 2007. Sites closer to town would have made €100,000.

"In many cases, it is now cheaper to buy a house than build, even if you have planning secured already," he said. "This is particularly the case in Co Longford because of the sheer number of houses that were built there."

Tipperary auctioneer John Stokes, from Stokes & Quirke, said rural sites close to a major town such as Clonmel would have sold for €100,000-150,000. However, prices have now fallen to €55,000-75,000 for those same sites.

"Planning permission has become much stricter in the past two years and the council is now very strict on insisting that the person building the house is resident in, and has ties to, the area," he claimed.

In Co Meath, site prices have fallen 50pc since 2007, according to auctioneer Thomas Potterton, from TE Potterton REA.

"A standard half-acre site was around €80,000 but has fallen to €50,000 if it's in a good location or down to €40,000 if it is off the beaten track," he said.

There is still demand for a good site, as evidenced by a recent sale. An elevated residential site on the Dublin side of Trim sold for €70,000, subject to planning permission. However, Mr Potterton said farmers were cautious about selling sites to people who would not meet planning criteria.

"There is a stigma attached to a site if planning was refused before, even though it is not a precedent," Mr Potterton said.

Carlow-based auctioneer John Dawson said residential site prices in the region had fallen from €100,000 to €50,000-€65,000 for a 0.75ac or one-acre site.

In Co Cavan, rural sites are now available for as little as €20,000 for a 0.75ac site in a very rural area. Prices increase, depending on proximity to towns, and sites close to Virginia and other towns can make €50,000-60,000.

"Real country sites make €20,000-25,000 and there are a few moving, but it's very slow," said auctioneer Padraig Smith.

Sligo site prices have fallen 50pc from €70,000-80,000 in the boom to €35,000-40,000 today. Estate agent Roger McCarrick said the building collapse had affected site sales badly, although there were a small few sales still being made.

The market for residential sites in Co Kerry has collapsed entirely, according to agricultural consultant Eddie McQuinn.

"There is no market at all now so there is nothing to compare," he insisted.

Irish Independent