Wexford: Gorey is the go-to town for Dublin commuters again
Co Wexford experienced one of the biggest gains nationwide in house prices in 2017, up 20pc from a year earlier. The cause was streams of Dubliners priced out of their home city seeking out houses in Gorey, which is returning to its boom-era status as a commuter town.
Gorey has once again become an attractive market for Dubliners because it is a 90- minute off-peak drive from the city centre along the M11, a 45-minute drive from the M50, and is on the rail line, though the journey to Connolly Station takes about two hours.
"During the last boom, Dublin commuters were the mainstay of our business, but they disappeared during the recession," said local agent Niall Slattery of Warren Estates.
"Because Dublin prices are high again, people are being forced further and further away from the city. In Co Wexford, they are only prepared to go as far south as Gorey because of its transport links. The road from Gorey improved over the last five or six years and you can get to Dublin airport in an hour outside of rush hour. You'd want to be on the road for 7am for the city centre."
While buyers on Dublin salaries can afford to get more bang for their buck in Gorey, the town's locals are struggling to get a deposit together because they are paying an average €900 a month on rent for a three-bed semi-detached home and because salaries aren't as high as they are in the capital.
Work on new developments has resumed in Gorey to cater for this demand. Indeed, new builds in the town helped drive up Co Wexford's average prices for three- and four-bed semis, as homes with an A energy rating can command a premium of €50,000 in the Gorey market, Slattery says.
A series of phases were released at Oakhill, a new development of 56 three- and four-bed homes, with prices starting at €280,000 for a four-bed semi. More homes were added to the Gleann an Ghairdín estate outside Gorey last year and a handful of developments are due to come on stream in the town in 2018.
In addition, a developer is awaiting a decision on a planning application to build 100 houses near the Amber Springs Hotel. However, few new schemes are planned for Enniscorthy and New Ross because prices are not high enough to make it profitable for builders, Slattery says.
Speculative cash buyers who snapped up bargains over the last two to three years have largely disappeared from the Co Wexford market, and are being replaced by second- or third-time buyers who are trading up or downsizing.
"These are people who sold in Dublin and have grown kids who have left the nest, so they are releasing equity from their Dublin homes and downsizing to Wexford," Slattery says. "The younger buyers are commuters and older buyers are relocating."
However, there is such a shortage of supply in the Gorey market that trader-uppers are buying detached homes in Ballymoney that were once earmarked for Dubliners seeking holiday homes.
"We sold about 10 holiday homes in 2017 and all but one was to buyers settling down there permanently," Slattery says. "We sold five in Ballymoney, where big four-bed detached homes were €50,000 more expensive than in Gorey during the peak of the boom. But now that Gorey has gone up in price, people who traditionally would have looked at the town are looking at Ballymoney."
Among the first-time buyers are couples of Eastern European origin who have been saving since they arrived in Ireland between 10 and 12 years ago and are eyeing up purchases of any property costing less than €200,000. "Eastern Europeans have come into the market pretty strongly over the last 12 months," Slattery confirms.