Saturday 21 September 2019

Property hotspots: The least expensive - and the most expensive - nationwide

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'The cheapest counties to buy are currently Leitrim, Longford, Sligo and Roscommon, where prices range from an average of €124,000 to €133,000' Stock photo: PA

Fran Power

Property values have bounced back to within 25pc of peak levels in some areas of Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Cork, according to new data from property website

But other parts of the country, including Donegal, Leitrim and Mayo, have experienced very little recovery in percentage terms since their lowest point.

Commenting on the dramatic peaks and troughs of the current property market, economist at Trinity College and author of the House Price Report, Ronan Lyons, says, "You can think of it as a two-tier, three-tier or even a 400-tier market."

"There are places like the IFSC, Grand Canal Dock and Sandycove where prices will be back at peak levels certainly within 24 months. And then places like Terenure, Templeogue, Smithfield and Stoneybatter that are not that far off - say, two to three years."

Sandycove tops the list of districts experiencing the fastest rebound effect, having returned to close to 90pc of its 2007 values. Raheny, Limerick North, Castleknock and Glenageary in Co Dublin have also experienced high returns towards near peak levels.

What your money can buy: Four average-priced properties from the cheapest areas

For a complete list of the 24 micro-markets, compiled exclusively for the Sunday Independent, showing where prices have regained 75pc or more of their boomtime levels, see 'Return to the Celtic Tiger?', in the graphic below.

Click here to view full-size graphic

"At the other end of the spectrum," says Lyons, "there are places that are still more than 50pc below peak values. Donegal, for example, and particularly Bundoran, and the northwest, it's unlikely they are going to see peak levels anytime in the next 10 years."

The cheapest counties to buy are currently Leitrim, Longford, Sligo and Roscommon, where prices range from an average of €124,000 to €133,000.

But there are anomalies: Longford shows a jump of 23.5pc for the third quarter, and the border county of Monaghan registers 12.4pc. This, explains Lyons, makes sense when you take the longer view and look at how far their prices have increased since the lowest point of the crash - 55pc for Longford, bringing it to an average price of €131,092 and 43.4pc for Monaghan, bringing it up to €163,719, as local markets catch-up with the national averages.

A closer look at the figures, compiled quarterly from list prices on its website, reveals the complexity of the market.

Cork city, for example, saw an increase of 5.1pc over the previous year, increasing prices from their lowest point by 58.5pc, to an average price of €260,181. The surrounding county, however, saw prices rise by 8.8pc for the same period, to an average price of €206,596, or 46.3pc up from their lowest point. The difference can be explained, says Lyons, by the fact that as prices in Cork city soared in 2015 and 2016, there is probably some spill-over of buyers out to the city's commuter belt in search of more affordable housing.

Galway city saw average prices rise to €271,797, up 9pc on the previous year, and an increase of 47.7pc from its lowest point. Both Limerick and Waterford showed similar increases year on year of 8.6pc and 8.5pc respectively, bringing average house prices up to €177,771 and €159,992.

In fact, there is good news for house hunters. Prices nationally have seen only modest increases of 0.3pc over the period for the quarter June to September, compared to increases of 4.3pc for the first two quarters of 2017. Prices overall were 8.9pc higher than for the previous year, with the rate in Dublin (9.9pc), higher than elsewhere (8.2pc) for the second consecutive quarter.

According to Lyons, list prices tend to ease back slightly in the final three months of the year, having fallen in the final quarters of 2014, 2015 and 2016. Excluding that quarter, however, the increase for June to September is the smallest increase nationally we've seen since the market bottomed-out in late 2013.

So has the market finally stabilised? Lyons believes that while the Help to Buy scheme has been blamed for much of the jump in prices in the first half of the year, in the easing of the Central Bank's rules has been more significant.

"The Help to Buy (HTB) scheme is only aimed at first-time buyers of new-built homes," points out Lyons, "while the Central Bank rules on minimum deposits is for all first-time buyers - and obviously there are lots of those.

"In particular, the HTB scheme is capped, and thus would be expected to have a far greater impact in cheaper markets than in expensive ones.

The opposite trend was seen in the market, which is exactly what the relaxation of the Central Bank rules would be expected to do."

"Since June though," he adds, "prices have largely been stable, suggesting the change has largely run its course."

While the average Dublin price increase was 9.9pc, a number of postcodes bucked the trend, particularly in the upper tier of the market for four- and five-bed homes.

In Dublin 7 and 8, for example, price increases year on year were 25.2pc and 23.6pc respectively. Dublin 4 and 6, however, are still the most expensive addresses for would-be purchasers at €650,000 and €607,000 for three-bed semis. For apartments, Dublin 2, 4 and 6 remain the highest priced areas, followed by south county Dublin which has seen a slight fall in prices of -0.8pc.

But there are encouraging signs in the report that supply is beginning to if not increase, then at least fall more slowly.

There were an average of 24,000 properties for sale from June to September, 4pc lower than in 2016, but the smallest fall in availability since early 2012. However, says Lyons, "with a shortage in supply, largely due to the lack of new homes being built, there is little to suggest that house prices will fall in the months and years ahead."

Sunday Independent

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