Clare: Holiday home sales healthy but new builds needed
The property market in the main population centres of Clare has been showing steady price growth over the past couple of years, while increases have only really spread out to the smaller towns in the last 12 months. "We saw growth in the peripheral villages for the first time since the crash," says Diarmuid McMahon of Sherry FitzGerald McMahon in Ennis.
"Also, there's a market now for the bigger properties. We are finally starting to do deals for houses over the half- million mark."
Many of the big sales are happening in the holiday-home market, in areas like Kilkee and Quin. McMahon recently sold a house in West End in Kilkee for €750,000, which would have been unheard of a few years ago.
But while prices are rising in the county, they have not recovered sufficiently to make it feasible for new builds to begin again. "New builds are most definitely needed at this point," says McMahon. "For that to happen, prices will need to be at about €220,000 for an upper-end three-bed semi, but at the moment they are only selling for €170,000. Builders just wouldn't get the finance at these prices."
Brexit was a concern for McMahon when it was announced back in June of last year. "We were very worried during those summer months that followed because we had a number of contracts that were due to be signed and feared the buyers wouldn't go ahead because of the exchange rate. Thankfully, they all signed in the end."
The last 12 months have seen the first rises countywide and this amounted to 10pc.
McMahon thinks the market will continue to grow this year, but not at the same rate. "When a market starts to recover, the greatest acceleration comes early on and then it evens out, so I think the growth will be more modest this year." He predicts price increases of 8pc for the year ahead.