Property prices rise again but rate of increase slows
Reports from myhome.ie and daft.ie show house prices rose in the past year but not as steeply as previously seen, writes Myles Buchanan
Property prices in Wicklow rose by €21,000 in the past year according to the latest MyHome.ie Property Report.
The report for the final quarter of 2018, in association with Davy, shows that the median asking price for a property in the county now stands at €320,000. While this was unchanged from the previous quarter, it is a seven per cent increase on the same time last year when it stood at €299,000.
The rise in prices was reflected in the asking price for a three-bed semi-detached house in the county, which is also unchanged from the previous quarter but is up 2.1 per cent on this time last year from €293,000 to €299,000. Prices for this house type remain at their highest level in eight-and-a-half years, since they stood at €310,000 in the second quarter of 2010.
The asking price for a four-bed semi-detached house in Wicklow rose by 3.5 per cent in the last quarter, going from €362,500 to €375,000 and putting them back at the same level they were at this time last year.
The number of properties for sale in Wicklow on MyHome.ie fell nine per cent in the last quarter but was up 16.2 per cent on this time last year.
The average time to go sale agreed on a property in the county now stands at four months.
Nationally, the report notes that house prices are expected to rise by around five per cent in 2019 after slowing sharply in quarter three and stabilising in the last quarter of 2018. It also predicts that robust demand and rising incomes will continue to push house prices higher once the uncertainty of Brexit has been resolved.
Conall MacCoille, Chief Economist at Davy and author of the report, said the overall picture is that the recent slowdown has evened out, housing supply is slowly picking up - even if it remains well short of demand - and liquidity is slowly improving off a low base.
Meanwhile, the latest House Price Report issued by daft.ie reveals that property prices in Co Wicklow were six per cent higher in the final quarter of 2018 than they were at the same time in 2017. This compares with a rise of eleven per cent seen between 2016 and 2017.
The daft.ie report states that the average house price in Co Wicklow is now €334,000 - 64 per cent above its lowest point. This figure places the Garden County as the fourth most expensive area for average property prices, after south County Dublin (€591,000), south Dublin City (€407,000) and north Dublin City (€338,000).
The report provides a snapshot of asking prices in the county and reveals that the average asking price of a number of properties, including: a one-bed apartment - €142,000 (up 17.5 per cent on last year); a two-bed terrace - €189,000 (up 12.6% on 2017); a three-bed semi-detached house - €252,000 (up 4.8 per cent); a four-bed bungalow - €488,000 (an increase of 9.4 per cent on last year); and a five-bed detached home - €510,000 (up 1.7 per cent on the previous year).
Nationally, house prices rose by 5.5 per cent during 2018. The average price nationwide in the final quarter of the year was €254,000, down 1.1 per cent on the figure for the third quarter.
The annual increase of 5.5 per cent (€241,000 was the average asking price for Q4 2017) or just over €1,000 a month, was significantly smaller than increases of between eight and nine per cent seen in 2015, 2016 and 2017. This marks the lowest year-end inflation rate since prices bottomed out in 2013.
The daft.ie report also revealed that the number of properties available to buy on the market nationwide rose by ten per cent during 2018. There were over 23,500 properties for sale in December 2018, compared to 21,200 a year earlier. This is the first year-end increase in availability in a decade. Whereas earlier in the year the increase was being driven entirely by Dublin - where availability is up 40 per cent - better availability has now spread to other parts of the country, including other cities, and the rest of Leinster and Munster.
Ronan Lyons, economist at Trinity College Dublin and author of the report, believes that the steady return to home-building has helped to 'cool down' rapidly inflating house costs.
'Not least because of the Central Bank's mortgage rules, the market this decade has returned to the more fundamental drivers of supply and demand. Since 2013, demand has been strong but supply weak. The increase in homes being built - especially estate houses - in the last 18 months, though, has helped cool down inflation, in particular in the Greater Dublin area, where construction activity is focused,' said Mr Lyons.