Kildare South: South Kildare's 10pc price hike set to calm in coming year
Despite the Central Bank's restrictive loan-to-income ratios and prohibitive 20pc deposit requirements for second-time buyers, there was a marked shortage of homes on the market whic caused prices to rise hard in south Kildare.
Prospective buyers were stress-tested by banks and building societies more through the last 12 months than in previous years, making it difficult for would-be buyers to secure a mortgage, according to local agent Charlie McDermott, managing director of Sherry FitzGerald McDermott.
That said, just 20pc of the agency's buyers last year paid for their properties in cash.
Private buyers who secured a mortgage faced competition for a small amount of housing stock from housing associations purchasing properties for low- income earners and social welfare recipients, pushing prices up even further.
"Another thing I found - something we didn't experience in other years - was that councils were lending to people who couldn't secure bank loans," McDermott said.
As a result of competitive bidding, price inflation for a three-bed semi in town - which outstripped four-bed semis and detached four-beds to become the most popular product of 2017 - accelerated to 15pc in south Kildare last year, ahead of the county average of 10pc.
Price inflation will likely slow to 6pc by the end of this year, as more developments come on stream. These include Brookfield in Nurney, a scheme of 18 four-bed detached homes with prices starting at €275,000.
"With prices increasing, it's becoming more financially viable to build in south Kildare again," McDermott says.
Demand for residential property has also been shored up by the €50m expansion of the Kildare Village outlet centre in Newbridge, which created hundreds of new jobs, as well as by the UK's vote in 2016 to leave the European Union. "Brexit has enticed people from the UK to look towards Ireland to secure a future base in the EU," McDermott says. "We've had a lot of interest as far down as Carlow, from Irish people currently living in Britain or people who expect to be doing business in Ireland in the future. They've been looking at properties above the three-bed-semi standard, usually a four-bed semi or detached property in a town centre or a stepping stone property they can do up."
Prices for a town-based four-bed semi climbed 8pc to €268,000 last year, while the price of the average detached property with at least 2,000 sq ft of living space climbed 6pc to €375,000.