'You don't have to go to town to socialise' - Welcome to the 'Ranelagh of the Northside'
The Dublin 9 market is especially strong at the moment, as evidenced by the fact that vendors were confident enough to launch their homes to market right up to the week before Christmas.
Smaller three- and four-bedroom family houses up to 1,000 sq ft on the fringes of Dublin 9, in areas such as Whitehall, Beaumont and Santry, are most popular with first-time buyers, while the larger 1,400 sq ft family homes are being sought after by second-timers seeking to upgrade.
The Alexander Strain houses on Iona Road and Park near St Columba's Church are generally seen as a third and final move within the postcode for those who can afford them.
Local agent Vincent Kelly says that a shortage of supply and consistent demand mean that attendances at viewings are at a high point, with prices up 8pc on average since this time last year.
Looking back through 2017, the early sales season was the busiest, as many purchasers, especially younger buyers, are reliant on the bank exemptions that still seem to be more readily available at the start of the year.
Kelly says that not all buyers were successful over the course of the year, and many are still hunting for a suitable home.
"In the apartment market," reports Kelly, "investors were still there up to the €300,000 mark, but others were getting out of the market now that values are getting close to their peak." As in other central Dublin locations, the effects of Government- imposed rent restraints will be encouraging landlords who allowed their tenants to stay on at below market rates to sell up.
Drumcondra has become the "Ranelagh of the Northside", says Kelly, who notes a significant level of upgrading, including the refurbishment of the Skylon Hotel, and the fact that there are now 16 restaurants in the village.
"It all makes the area very attractive," he says, "as it means that you don't have to go into town to socialise."
Kelly says there were a lot of probate sales in Dublin 9 during 2017 and that he has noticed a new phenomenon, whereby adult children who have continued living in the family home after the death of their parents are being forced to move out by their siblings, now that property values have increased as the market has recovered.
This in turn brings a new client to the market, says Kelly: someone who is looking to buy a smaller property with their share of the proceeds of the family home.
The new Hampton development on Grace Park Road will bring 69 new four- and five- bedroom units to the market in 2018. These are likely to be primarily of interest to families trading up. Kelly predicts growth of 4pc in the first quarter of 2018 and 7pc for the year as a whole.