Thursday 13 December 2018

Kerry: Prices up from a low base

Barrow House, Barrow, Tralee, sold last February for €345,000
Barrow House, Barrow, Tralee, sold last February for €345,000

A slump of some 70pc in the number of UK buyers in the Co Kerry holiday-home market since the British vote to leave the European Union in June 2016 was more than offset last year by well-heeled Cork and Dublin buyers seeking out a pied-à-terre in Kenmare and Dingle.

Indeed, the price of an average holiday home climbed 13pc to €175,000 in 2017, according to Darragh Ó Sé from Property Partners Daly Ó Sé in Tralee.

"We had a lot more people from the big cities, where there are better-paying jobs, coming down and spending a few bob on summer homes," he said.

Locals, however, were not as fortunate. The permanent-home market was dominated by cash buyers and buy-to-let investors in search of high rental yields because prospective novice owner- occupiers struggled to get mortgage approval.

"First-time buyers were coming back into the market but they couldn't get finance from the banks, so the mortgages coming through were not as high as expected," Ó Sé says.

Buy-to-let investors, dissatisfied with the return they were getting on leaving cash on deposit, are mostly drawn to Tralee and Listowel, where prices are relatively low but rents range from €750 to €850 for a three-bed semi.

Prices also rose last year - albeit from a low base - because of the dearth of new development in Co. Kerry towns. One builder who owned a housing site in Tralee finished off an estate in the town and sold three-bed semis there for between €170,000 and €175,000, but Ó Sé points out that prices are still too low for developers to buy a site and build at current costs of €110 per sq ft.

"Very little building has been going on because a lot of the buy-to-let properties had to be washed through the system," Ó Sé says. "Once these lower-priced properties were sold and there were few of them left, prices started rising."

The price of a three-bed semi-detached home in a town rose 8pc to an average €160,000 last year, with prices expected to rise 6pc to €170,000 by the end of this year.

Irish Independent

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