Thursday 23 January 2020

Commuter belt bucks trend as home sales tumble across State


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Seán McCárthaigh

The number of property sales in 2019 dropped by more than 2,200 as the residential market slowed.

A total of 54,963 residential sales have been recorded on the official Residential Property Price Register in the past year - 2,239 fewer than in 2018, or a decrease of 3.9pc.

Although some transactions completed in December have still to be filed, almost two-thirds of counties are expected to have experienced a downturn in property sales.

Only nine counties have recorded an increase in residential sales in 2019.

Some sales would have involved multiple units such as an entire housing estate or apartment block, including the most expensive deal - the €129.5m paid by European private equity company Henderson Park for 266 apartments as part of a mixed use development at Heuston South Quarter in Kilmainham, Dublin, which sold for €222m.

But an analysis of the RPPR maintained by the Property Service Regulatory Authority shows the main growth last year was in counties within commuting distance of the capital.

There was a 15.5pc increase in sales of houses and apartments in Wicklow followed by an 8.1pc increase in Westmeath.

The strong growth in property sales in Wicklow was primarily due to the large number of new houses and apartments sold in the county.

New properties in Wicklow accounted for about a third of all sales in 2019 - more than double the national average of 15pc.

More modest increases in the number of property sales were recorded in Laois, Louth, Wexford, Kilkenny, Kildare, Offaly and Cork.

In contrast, a fall in excess of 10pc in the number of completed housing sales were recorded in several counties including Kerry, Sligo, Monaghan and Roscommon.

The biggest decrease was witnessed in Leitrim where the number of transactions was down almost 15pc to 418.

The number of registered sales in Dublin, which accounts for approximately a third of all properties sold in the country, was also down significantly.

The total number of sales in the capital at 17,140 was a decrease of almost 1,500 on the previous year - down 8.1pc.

Overall, new homes accounted for more than 10,300 sales across the country last year compared with more than 11,000 in 2018.

The RPPR is not recognised as a reliable indicator of property price trends, but the slowdown in sales is consistent with recent reports showing housing prices falling last year for the first time since 2012.

The most expensive sale of a single home is believed to be a figure of more than €20m paid for the 5,000-acre Luggala estate in Co Wicklow.

The former home of the late Guinness heir Garech Browne, the RPPR only records the value in relation to the house and immediate gardens at just under €11.6m.

Instead the most valuable single property sold was the Castletown Demesne, located in Co Kilkenny just outside Carrick-on-Suir, which sold for €12.6m.

The biggest transaction in Dublin was the sale of 49 Ailesbury Road for €6.75m, which is believed to have been bought by businessman Dermot Desmond.

In Cork, Kilfinnan Castle, a luxurious seaside property in the west Cork village of Glandore, sold for more than €5.7m.

The former home of award-winning author Eoin Colfer, Ballymorris House outside Wexford town fetched €975,000.

Irish Independent

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