Wicklow South: Market is playing catch-up in the south of Wicklow
Buyers seeking to escape rising rents by purchasing a starter home are pushing up house prices at the lower end of the market in south Co Wicklow.
The price of an ex-council house surged 25pc to €150,000 in 2017 and is set to rise a further 13pc by the end of this year.
Also rising in value at the lower rungs of the market are two-up two-down properties, three-bed terraced houses and two-bed apartments, which climbed 13pc, 19pc and 13pc, respectively.
Breda Bermingham of Sherry FitzGerald Myles Doyle in Arklow says: "The starter home market was the most competitive end of the market due to the lack of supply and buyers being limited by the mortgages they can borrow.
"The deposit is the biggest struggle for most people, but it doesn't make any economic sense for them to rent when you look at rental prices and what you can repay on a mortgage. It's no surprise that people want to buy as soon as they can because they are paying substantially more on rent."
The three-bed semi-detached style was the most popular house type overall in south Wicklow in 2017, compared to a four-bed semi a year earlier. The former type rose 5pc in price to an average €200,000 last year, with price inflation set to accelerate slightly to 8pc in 2018.
Wicklow town is by far the most expensive location in south Wicklow, with three-bed semi-detached properties commanding a premium of up to €100,000 compared to the same product in other south Wicklow towns.
"This time last year properties in south Co Wicklow were way too undervalued, so we've played a bit of catch-up since then," Bermingham says. "People have a lot more confidence than they had this time last year and want to get on the ladder and buy their home."
The market is, however, dominated by first-time buyers whose purchasing power is boosted by the help-to-buy scheme.
"We don't see a lot of people trading up like they did years ago because of Central Bank rules and because that element of confidence isn't necessarily there," Bermingham says.
"People who are separating and selling the family home are looking for a new place to live, and they are competing with first-time buyers."