Dublin 18: Bungalows in big demand with downsizers
Supply improved in Dublin 18 through the year but, after Brexit was declared in June, demand fell off late last year in an area particularly popular with returning emigrants from the UK. The average three-bed semi showed no increase in value as a result.
"It was distinctly quieter in the second half of the year," says Ronan O'Hara of Sherry FitzGerald, who reports a "lively" first half of 2016. That said, there were some big-money sales in D18 in 2016. Mangerton on Westminster Road made €2.75m, while Charlotte Grove and Mandeville also achieved high prices (details not yet on register). On Mart Lane, Suncroft - with planning permission for another house in the garden - made €1.875m.
"That was all very encouraging," says O'Hara, "but in the autumn, when lots of vendors who had been hanging back decided to go to market, it turned out that there had only been a finite number of buyers and we found that we had a bit of a surplus come the end of the year."
If there are too many houses for sale at the top end, at the middle and lower end of the market, O'Hara still reports a serious shortage of supply: "We have lots of buyers for three- and four-bed semis." He is predicting the pattern of activity in 2017 will be similar to 2016 - front-loaded, as the banks use up their discretionary funding in the early months of the year. "We had a very quiet month in November last year, but as soon as the adjustment in deposit requirements was announced, we saw an immediate impact, and things started moving.
"These measures do free up the market, but the Government needs to do more to help those in negative equity: the people who need to move to a bigger house because their family has grown. The Government needs to do something to unlock the houses that are stuck there. It's not possible to build what's needed overnight, but it is possible to free up supply."
In terms of new housing, Joe O'Reilly's Castlethorn development off Brighton Road, Brighton Wood, is going to generate plenty of interest in 2017. "It's eagerly awaited around here," says O'Hara, who understands that the development of 100 homes will include a mixture of four- and five-bed homes and apartments. "This scheme is within walking distance of Foxrock village and will appeal to both downsizers and families."
O'Hara says there is also continuing development in Stepaside at Belarmine Woods and Stepaside Park, where everything released to date has already been sold.
"There are more new homes coming there in the spring," he says, before stressing that prices in Stepaside are considerably lower than those in Foxrock and Cabinteely. A house that costs €275,000 in Stepaside might cost €400,000 in Foxrock.
Bungalows continue to be in big demand with downsizers. "We saw good increases last year, but the market is not racing ahead as much as we might have hoped," says O'Hara. "The bank rules remain. I think it will be slow and calm for the year ahead, and hopefully we will see more development sites opening up. Supply is the big issue."