Wicklow South: Need for 'lifestyle change' nudges city slickers to Wicklow
Clocking up an increase of 8pc on the year to date, south Wicklow's most active buyer was the first-timer. Unlike FTBs in other counties, luckily they had plenty of opportunity to step onto the property ladder in south Wicklow, with new builds finally beginning again, after a quiet few years.
"Supply is steady at the moment," says Breda Bermingham of Sherry FitzGerald Myles Doyle in Arklow. "First-time buyers are driven by price. If they can afford the four-bed, they'll push for it and then they feel they have a home for life," she says.
"Building has already been happening in Wicklow town but it's just starting now in Arklow too because prices have reached the point now where it's profitable for the builder to return."
South Wicklow is also a big commuter area, with people prepared to travel the extra few miles beyond north Wicklow to get more bang for their buck. The extension of the M11 has drawn Dublin city workers in search of a better quality of life, while not being a million miles away from the capital. These people are buying up the more rural properties.
"Rural properties have done well but there wouldn't be as much volume," says Bermingham. "The buyers interested in these homes are either from Arklow, moving out for more space for the family, or those from Dublin who are looking for a lifestyle change."
Bermingham says that people in the area are still not that comfortable about renting and would definitely push themselves to buy rather than rent long-term.
"Nobody feels that secure about renting at the moment. I don't think we'll ever have the same mindset as our European counterparts. It seems to me that if an Irish person can afford it, they'll buy.
"There isn't too much of a difference between the price of a monthly mortgage and rent these days."
Bermingham believes 2017 is going to be a steady year, predicting further growth of 7pc on most property types, with apartments due to see the biggest jump.