Sunday 25 February 2018

Sligo: Sterling slump slows holiday home sales in Sligo but semis sell well

Primrose Grange House, Knocknarea, sold last October for €630,000
Primrose Grange House, Knocknarea, sold last October for €630,000

House prices in Co Sligo are up modestly on a year ago as gains in demand for properties in Sligo town and the surfing village of Strandhill were stymied by a fall in sales of holiday homes in Mullaghmore due to reduced demand from Northern Irish buyers amid a drop in the value of sterling.

The greatest number of sales in Co Sligo over a year have been recorded for starter homes, according to Shane Flanagan of DNG Flanagan Ford, who says demand was high last year. As a result, the prices of one- and two-bed apartments climbed 10pc and 7pc, respectively. Two- and three-bed ex-council homes saw price increases of 9pc and 10pc, respectively.

Three-bed semi-detached homes in towns are most in demand compared to four-bed semis a year ago, showing affordability falling. The price of three-bed semis is up by an average 3pc to €155,000 and will likely rise by the same percentage by the end of this year.

"Three-bed semis could sell all day every day," Flanagan says. "Because the first-time buyer is the strongest in the market, the starter home is going very well. There has also been investment in apartments due to the student population at Sligo IT. But there hasn't been so much movement at the top end of the market."

Price growth for starter homes accelerated in 2017 following the introduction of the help-to-buy tax incentive scheme for first-time buyers. But activity in that market began to peter out by the last quarter of 2017, Flanagan notes.

While an increase in employment in Sligo town, especially from construction of the 35,000 sq ft Embankment Buildings - the largest building project in the town in about a decade - boosted demand, there was a dent in demand from Belfast and British buyers for holiday homes in Mullaghmore. That helped limit the price increase for the average Co Sligo holiday home to 3pc.

"There is still activity in that market but there has been an impact from the drop in the valuation of sterling," Flanagan said. "Now more sales in this market come from buyers in Galway and Dublin than from Belfast.

Like other countries, supply has been tight in Co Sligo. New homes were sold in Strandhill last year and yet-unfinished houses in Collooney and Ballisodare may come on the market in 2018, Flanagan says.

Irish Independent

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