Sunday 22 April 2018

Kerry: Vendors too cute to sell

Dunshin House, Kenmare, Co Kerry. Sold for €280,000.
Dunshin House, Kenmare, Co Kerry. Sold for €280,000.

Despite price increases estimated at 10pc through the last 12 months, there is still a very marked reluctance on the part of the ordinary vendor in Kerry to put their homes on the market.

"The market has recovered in some cities but we're still a long way behind in Kerry," says Eddie Barrett of Norths in Tralee. "Not many people want to sell for the prices we are currently achieving. We are about two-thirds of the way to where we were in 2007."

Supply is very short in the county and prices haven't quite recovered to the point at which it is feasible for developers to start building badly needed homes.

"The irony is that building materials have increased in cost over a seven to eight-year period, so it's becoming more difficult to persuade builders to start building," says Barrett.

"Banks aren't helping the situation either. There are quite a few people coming from around Europe who are not restricted by the new 20pc deposit rule because they have cash in their pockets. But as for the traditional market, where buyers would have had their 10pc to buy a house, that kind of person has been put out of the market because they just can't come up with enough funds for 20pc.

"It is such a shame because these people then have to keep up with increasing rents, which in turn, makes it nearly impossible to save. The banks could overturn this rule in the morning if they wanted to."

There are still many families in negative equity around the county too that are struggling, according to Barrett. "Interest rates are still too high compared to other countries. Banks really aren't making it easy for homeowners."

Prices may not be rising as quickly as other counties, but things are certainly going in the right direction in Kerry. Barrett says that he would have sold some rural houses in receivership for about €50,000 a year ago, but these same houses are now fetching up to €80,000.

"They would have sold for about €150,000 back in the boom so we're still a way off, but we're getting there. The ordinary person who's thinking of moving to Dublin from Kerry, won't sell their property because they know they won't get a good price for it, so they rent the house and let it sit there. This seems crazy when we're so desperate for properties to sell."

Barrett reckons that a further increase of 12pc would be possible in 2016 but he really wants to see some fairness created in the market so it's not just the few with "wealthy Daddys and Mammys" who can afford the house of their dreams.

Irish Independent

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