Saturday 17 March 2018

Wicklow North: High supply keeps north Wicklow on an even keel

Butterhill Lodge, Blessington, sold for €480,000 last August
Butterhill Lodge, Blessington, sold for €480,000 last August

House prices rose moderately in north Wicklow last year as construction on a slew of new-builds tempered growth.

"In terms of supply, north Wicklow is leading the country," says local agent Gordon Lennox from Sherry FitzGerald.

Four developments were active in fashionable Greystones alone, including Seagreen, Marina Village Greystones, Waverly, and there was also Thorndale in nearby Delgany. There was less activity in Bray, where five new-builds were sold in one weekend on Seapoint Road, and the dominant scheme in Newtownmountkennedy was Wicklow Hills.

Bray and Greystones are still very popular because of the Dart and good schools, Lennox said.

The price of an average four-bed semi in north Wicklow increased by 8pc in 2017 to €520,000, though the pace of growth will likely slow somewhat to 6pc by the end of 2018 because of the introduction by the Central Bank of rules that lower the number of exceptions banks can make on mortgage lending to 10pc from 20pc of mortgage applicants planning to buy pre-owned stock.

"Even though these customers are on very good salaries, more than half of them will no longer qualify for a mortgage in 2018," Lennox says.

"Some agents and builders might say those rules are not popular, but I think they are needed to stop the same rot creeping in that occurred before the recession. Those buyers, though, will be left with no choice than turning to the Bank of Mum and Dad, relying on a bonus at work, or waiting for Aunty Mary to die and leave them a legacy."

House-price inflation may also slacken in the years ahead given expected lower demand from buyers in south Dublin, due to plans for 4,000 housing units in a planned town at Cherrywood.

Lennox notes that the impact of Brexit has been measurable in north Wicklow.

"Many UK buyers want to buy here, but with the drop in sterling and prices easing in the Home Counties and stockbroker belt, their own properties are worth less," he said. "But Americans are compensating for the lack of British buyers and are cancelling them out nearly deal for deal."

Irish Independent

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