Stable rent market the solution to slow sales

Sluggish property sales market provides for rich pickings for the residential purchaser

Demand for lettings remains robust

MANY sellers are apprehensive to accept lower prices for their homes at the moment; as a consequence letting has become the popular alternative offering the chance to raise capital while waiting for the market to improve.

There is an excellent market for lettings at the moment; the competitive nature of the market has encouraged people to seek new abodes as they can now perhaps afford a bigger or better equipped place.

Some landlords may have become disenchanted with this nature of the market in recent times, unable to achieve the larger rents which were considered the 'norm' in the recent past. However there is a silver lining according to letting expert Karina Gallivan of Killarney based rental company Its4rent.ie. "While some landlords may still be seeking the higher rents they need to be more realistic, there is a huge demand for competitive rentals at the moment and costs can be offset in other ways," Karina explained.

"Falling interest rates, the increasing affordability of builders in light of repairs and the fall in production costs due to the decrease in the price of oil are all factors that will offset your rent."

"We've seen an increase in enquiries both for homeowners looking to let properties and for tenants looking for properties to rent," she added."

Lettings are the ideal short-term solution, she says, for sellers who have been unable to achieve their asking price. In contrast to the residential sales market, demand for lettings is remaining robust. A different demographic of tenants is emerging too – demand is now coming from an increasingly affluent tenant as potential homebuyers hold off from purchasing. Renting is the ideal short-term measure for these people who are waiting to see how the market moves.

Engaging a lettings agency allows homeowners to reap the benefits of letting without any of the hassle. An experienced agency offers expertise; their rental valuation will estimate the property's appropriate letting price and give homeowners an idea of potential income.

Lettings agencies that offer a full property management service are likely to include a valuation, marketing of the property, management of viewings, screening of potential tenants, signing of lease agreements, administration of rent payment, maintenance and management of tenant issues. The risk involved with listing your property with an agency is negligible as worthwhile letting agents operate on a 'no let, no fee' basis. "While many sellers would prefer to sell, listing a home both for sale and to let is an option for any properties that aren't shifting immediately," said Karina, "If income can be generated in any way this can ease the financial burden of a long selling process. A vacant property is costing you money."

Contact Karina Gallivan at its4rent.ie, College Square, Killarney or call her at 064-34177. Visit: www.its4rent.ie for details. Energy homes; best buys for 2009

efficient FROM January onwards, all residential property sold and rented in Ireland will require an energy rating based on new compulsory EU regulations implemented to combat climate change; consequently the more environmentally sound the property, the better the buy.

This is in evidence at Ardmoniel Heights, Killorglin, conceived and constructed by M & P O'Connor Builders Ltd., who has established themselves over the past 20 years as a leader in site development and in housing construction, developing a reputation for excellence and quality in what they do.

"Ardmoniel Heights is our latest project of 45 houses which are finished off to a very high spec," said Hannah O'Connor of M & P O'Connor Builders, "these houses are designed as 'the Houses of Tomorrow' so to speak!"

"Fuel consumption is kept to a minimum using renewable energy, high efficiency space heating and heat recovery ventilation. This, coupled with careful choice of glazing and insulation materials, means that the houses are over 40% more efficient than standard new homes."

"The very construction of the homes means that emissions of harmful greenhouse gases are minimised; this helps slow climate change - with benefits for health, the environment and the future," she added.

The homes have inbuilt solar heating system providing hot water for washing dishes, showers and baths. In the summertime, solar can provide almost all hot water requirements for the home.

"In the winter time the sun is not as strong as in the summer and the high efficiency gas boiler will "top up the hot water tank," said Hannah, "over the full year this RVR heating system can cut a whopping 60% off your water heating bill."

The after-care supplied to new homeowners by M & P O'Connor Ltd. singles them out as one of the most progressive companies in Kerry; new home owners can rest assured that assistance is only a phone call away.

Visit www.oconnorbuilders.com for more information. Quality and quantity AS SUPPLY momentarily exceeds demand in the property sector, quality and quantity have coaligned.

Architecturally designed, distinctive, energy efficient homes in developments all over the county are now affordable; many of these properties would been beyond the purchasing ability of the average wage earner this time two years ago. Many of these are now within the remit of the average person.

With the energy rating system coming into effect this January, builders had to up their game and now many homes come with double-glazing, solar panelling and installation as standard.

The fall in interest rates, coupled with the high quality, high spec, energy efficient homes coming on-stream for 2009 may once again drive prices in the New Year, through unlikely to reach the lofty levels seen before the credit crunch.

However there is no doubt that if you are in a position to buy, now is the time to do it as there has never been so much quality or indeed, quantity Existing borrowers reap benefit of falling rates THE FALL in interest rates has made the average mortgage a lot more affordable in recent times, offering some good news for existing borrowers who, with heavy mortgages, see the homes they purchased a year or two year ago now fall dramatically in price.

The European Central Bank has cut rates by 0.5% twice in recent times, stabilizing at 3.25% in early December. This could even fall as low as two per cent in the New Year according to economists.

How does this relate to the ordinary person? For example, a tracker mortgage of €300,000 on a margin of one per cent above the ECB rate will have seen borrowers' experience a reduction of up to €300 on their monthly repayments. Dream scenario for the first-time buyer According to financial forecasters, the fall in interest rates is set to continue into the New Year. A new market has begun to emerge as banks target first time buyers in an effort to revitalise the economy.

Despite being more selective with their the lending criteria than in recent times, many of the banks are still keen to gain new clients; with continuing losses the banks see the recovery of the property market as the key to the survival of their own sector.

Their loss has come to be the first-time buyers gain so to speak; couple this with the fall in interest rates, amazing value on the market at the moment and the high level of quality residential property and you end up with a buyer's dream scenario.

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