Dublin North County: Strong sales in North County, but losing landlords
The market in Dublin North County is performing steadily with average increases in property values of around 5pc. Most of this increase was seen in the first two quarters of last year, when there was competition from prospective buyers for properties. Later in the year, as more housing stock became available, there was a rebalancing of some asking prices.
"October and November were quieter months," reports local agent Grainne McKenna, "and properties that were still sitting there unsold at the end of the year were there because it has sometimes been hard to manage vendors' expectations and to get them to agree to price reductions."
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McKenna says that cash buyers were not as plentiful as they had been in previous years, and that chains of two, three and four parties and properties were the norm.
"The chain situation comes with its own issues in terms of delays and risks," says McKenna. "Finance can be tricky."
McKenna also notes that the market in Dublin North County continued to lose investors, many of whom sold rental properties during 2018.
The pyrite problem that has been a feature of the market in this area for many years continued to be an issue, although McKenna says that once remediated, there is no difficulty selling the houses affected. Unremediated properties are often purchased by builders and investors.
The market in Rush and Lusk continues to be dominated by first-time buyers looking for three-bedroom semi-detached homes in good condition, while in Skerries it is the four-bedroom family homes that are most in demand.
"Skerries has become much more popular," says McKenna. "It's 40 minutes from the city centre and there are good schools and sports facilities. There was more stock during 2018 than in previous years, and a sense that the town has really come into its own."
McKenna is predicting another year of steady growth ahead and notes that there is still value to be had in Dublin North County. She cautions, however, that lending can be a concern and that during 2018 she was aware of some lenders reneging on offers in principle.
In Howth, Wayne O'Brien of DNG's Fairview office, reports that the most activity during 2018 was in relation to three-bedroom semi-detached family homes in the €300,000 to €600,000 price brackets, with premiums of between €50,000 and €70,000 being paid for sea views. There was good demand for two- and three-bedroom apartments from investors, owner-occupiers and Irish people living abroad wanting a holiday base in Ireland.
Investors and downsizers were also active in Malahide, with the apartments at the marina seen as particularly desirable. Elsewhere in Malahide, detached houses sold well to families trading up from semi-detached homes.
O'Brien predicts average values in Howth and Malahide will increase by 3pc in 2019.