Dublin 18: November 'bounce' sees D18 achieve 7pc price increases
"May you live in interesting times," goes the Chinese curse (supposedly), and Ronan O'Hara of Sherry Fitzgerald's Foxrock office says that last year was certainly interesting.
"The first half was good," says O'Hara, "but then the Central Bank brought the party to an end with the introduction of the new regulations. In Foxrock, this was followed by a summer of inactivity, during which most of the locals decamped to their holiday homes down the country or abroad. And the autumn has been challenging although, having said that, we saw a bit of a bounce in November."
The market in Dublin 18 is wide and varied, ranging from two-bed townhouses in Stepaside and Carrickmines at one end, to large €2m-plus properties in leafy Foxrock. O'Hara reports a resurgence of interest in the latter, with some high-end deals done towards the end of the year, and vendors and purchasers both equally keen to complete transactions before Christmas.
The Property Price Register shows the top sale in Foxrock during 2015 to have been Four Winds on Brighton Road, which sold for a hefty €3.45m. This sale appears to have been off-market, as there is no record of an advertising campaign for the house over the past number of months. Sherry Fitzgerald is understood to have handled the sale but O'Hara was unable to confirm.
In terms of the year ahead, O'Hara is cautiously optimistic.
"A shortage of stock and the banks' discretionary quota of mortgages that they can finance outside of the strict regulations means that we are expecting the beginning of the year to be very busy. O'Hara reckons that purchasers will find it easier to get loans approved at the beginning of the year, compared with the back end. Coupled with a generally brighter economic forecast and a very early Easter (meaning that the schools will be out and people will take holidays from just before St Patrick's Day until Easter) the year is starting with a short, sharp burst. No one wants to be scheduling viewings over Paddy's weekend or between then and Easter, so everyone will be very quick out of the traps."
O'Hara says that there is a shortage of supply in Dublin 18 for good three- and four-bed family homes in the €7/800,000 price bracket, and that the resurgence at the upper end of the market is being driven by purchasers who are not worrying about the Central Bank rules, as they are mainly ex-pats spending money earned abroad. The big difficulties, he says, are faced by those in a house worth €750,000 who want to trade up and can't get a mortgage to enable them to move into a house that costs €1m.
"There are a lot of people stuck in this type of a situation," he says.
As for a hotspot, he says that the purchasers he meets are looking for the large detached houses on the old roads of Foxrock - Brighton, Torquay, Kerrymount and Westminster.
"I can't get enough of those," he says, "and I wouldn't have said that a year ago."
For the year ahead, O'Hara sees the market relatively steady, and is predicting a modest 3pc increase in values.