Wicklow South: Commuters are choosing a way of life in the south
The market in south Wicklow is still buoyed by Dubliners who are looking for more bang for their buck. They have bought in such big numbers in the county that the No 133 bus leaves Wicklow town every 20 minutes at peak times, full of workers heading to the capital.
For some, this might seem like a long commute, but these buyers are choosing a way of life. Once they get home, they can leave the car in the driveway and walk to shops, schools, pubs and restaurants in Wicklow town, Rathdrum or Arklow.
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Breda Bermingham of Sherry FitzGerald Myles Doyle says that this continuing trend has helped to keep the market healthy and has seen a steady rise of 7pc in values in the area.
"When we go to value something now, I can tell you what you'll expect to get, unlike the olden days where nobody knew what price they'd end up with after a bidding war frenzy," says Bermingham. "It's a much better market for buyers. Nobody wants to go back to that frenzy. Buyers have the security of knowing that they can save up and come back to the market and they won't have been totally bypassed. There's no panic about missing out on one house now because they know there'll be another one."
Three-bed semis in town are averaging at €215,000, up from €200,000 this time last year. Holiday homes have seen a rise in value of 11pc, going from €180,000 12 months ago to €200,000 right now.
New homes are in big demand with first-time buyers who are keen to get their hands on an A-rated home. Bermingham has noticed a change in this end of the market.
"People are no longer buying for a five-year period, they are buying their family home for 10 to 20 years," she says. "They will go to the maximum of their borrowing capacity to get the best they can get. If it's new, all the better. Everyone wants A-rated now. Up standards and everyone will expect it."
There are new developments around south Wicklow with price tags varying from town to town. Meadow Gate in Wicklow town is selling three-bed semis from €317,000, four-bed semis from €350,000 and four-bed detached houses from €395,000.
New homes in Rathdrum come with a lower price tag (€245,000 for a three-bed semi) because they are that bit further into the county, so not as attractive to the commuter. A four-bed detached in Rathnew is €197,000, so if buyers are prepared to go the extra few miles out, it's worth their while.
In the second-hand market, prices tend to be higher in Wicklow town than Arklow because it's that bit closer to Dublin.
Bermingham predicts some small growth in values over the next 12 months, that should average out at around 5pc.