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Buyers surprised by areas where market hardens

Some prospective buyers are reacting in disbelief when finding that the housing market in some areas is not as soft a touch as they expected. One agent selling new houses said that some buyers reacted with derision when he told them that he was not reducing his prices any further.

David Browne of HT Meagher O'Reilly had already cut the prices by up to 72pc for some of the apartments at the Stocking Wood development in Rathfarnham in Dublin 16. The cuts attracted 1,600 viewers to the development last weekend and also shifted the last 19 houses and 11 apartments in the development.

The four bedroom houses were priced from €260,000 and the two bedroom flats from €115,000. But it's not just the very keenly priced homes that are causing buyers to be dumbfounded.

Carol Tallon, managing director of Buyers Broker, says the problem arises partly from economists trotting out opinions based on nationwide statistics which fail to acknowledge how the market can vary from location to location.

"The national statistics include almost ready, half-finished, poorly-constructed and entirely undesirable 'units', be they houses or apartments, in areas nationwide where buyers do not want to live.

"Buyers discount such properties immediately, but statistics cannot. We can see that national and even regional statistics do not tell the full story," she says.

She sees Dublin and Galway showing signs of recovery. "The shortage of Galway houses, has lead to a palpable increase in residential auctions. Invariably, these houses achieve in excess of the AMV or their stated guide price, under the hammer. Stock levels are virtually non-existent in certain suburban neighbourhoods.

"Nama and non-Nama banks continue to hold high levels of residential stock in and around Galway, maybe now is the time to think about releasing some," she adds.

Robert Hoban of Allsop Space concurs that regions where demand is markedly stronger are Galway, Kilkenny and Cork whereas Waterford, Limerick, North Midlands and the Northwest are weaker. "Not un-coincidentally, these observations closely map levels of unemployment, and over-supply of residential housing," he adds.

Ms Tallon also cites Carlow as a strong area. "When shopping for houses in Carlow recently we found that eight of the 17 potentially interesting, open market, properties had sale agreed -- two had sale agreed just that week!

"What this means for would-be buyers, is that while prices are not increasing, the very best stock is moving first so the same price will be paid next month for a slightly inferior property."

She sees cash buying continuing as the uncertainty about the Euro has seen some investors consider property as a safer pit than any bank in which to sink cash.

"In the last quarter there has been a definite easing in how investors can access credit. The banks are certainly open to quality proposals. One midlands couple report an approach from their local branch manager offering a second mortgage of up to 75pc for a Dublin investment property. This is wholly inconsistent with the continuing bleating about lack of credit for Irish property. In fact, we are seeing a genuinely increased appetite for property lending across most of the banks still," she says.

Indo Property