Waterford: Families trading up boost Waterford market recovery
After a few very tough years, Waterford is finally recovering and getting the investment it has been looking for since the crash.
The €280m plan to redevelop the city's North Quays quarter will not only bring tourists to the area, but also jobs for locals.
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On top of that, Waterford native Michael Doherty plans to create 1,500 jobs in the county when he sets up the Irish headquarters of his Cyprus-based financial services company, Woodbrook Group, later this year.
Agent Guy Palmer of Palmer auctioneers says locals are delighted. "Waterford is really coming back after being badly hit in the recession," says Palmer. "The North Quay development will bring a lot of jobs to the city. The main streets are starting to buzz again and people who went away to work are starting to come back to settle down."
Property values in the county have gone up by 3pc on average in the last 12 months, with a few exceptions like the three-bed semi in town that went up by 11pc, bringing it to €200,000.
Palmer says that families trading up have probably been the most active in the market. "It was a busy year for trader-uppers because a lot of people who bought between 2005 and 2008 had tracker mortgages so they felt stuck for years," says Palmer. "Now the banks are allowing them to take their tracker plus 1pc and their house price is close to where it was when they bought, so they're finally out of negative equity. They've outgrown the house they bought 10 years ago, so they want the detached house with space.
"Anything detached at about 2,000sq ft is in big demand and selling for over €400,000. Then the people trading up are freeing up the three-bed semis for first-time buyers, so there's a good flow."
One downside is that rents have rocketed in the city, where a three-bed semi costs over €1,000 a month. A lot of landlords are selling properties because prices are back up and these are being bought by first-time buyers, so the shortage of available units is driving rents up.
The UK buyer is all but gone from the market in Waterford, but holiday homes in likes of Dunmore East and Dungarvan are being bought by buyers from Dublin and Cork. The average price for a holiday home would be €240,000.
Palmer believes there is still room for increases in values, predicting a further rise of 2pc next year. "We're still not near peak prices, when a three-bed semi was about €320,000," he says. "In a really good area, the highest value for a three-bed semi would currently be €250,000. That said, it's a healthy market at the moment. It's a working-class town so if prices go too high, people won't be able to buy here. It's bringing locals back to the city."