According to the property price register at the end of August, the number of property sales for both Galway city and county is showing a dramatic increase year on year. The register gives the exact selling price of properties and so is the most accurate record of actual sales that have taken place.
Some property reports use asking prices as their source, others use prices which properties were 'for sale' at; neither of these give accurate information which can be relied on. As the property price register is only completed when sales are finalised, it could be argued that it lags real time selling prices by a few months. However, it is still the only definitive register for actual property sales.
In the past year, there has been a very significant increase of almost 50% in the number of properties sold in the January to July period in Galway city and county, from 732 properties in 2013 to 1,085 properties in 2014. This has continued a trend apparent over the last number of years, where the number of properties sold has increased considerably year on year. Less than 450 properties were sold in the same period in 2011, showing a dramatic increase of 140% in the three year period 2011 to 2014. Indeed 100 more properties were sold in the first seven months of this year than in all of 2011. This trend of increased sales is clear in most areas of the city and county.
In County Galway, almost €90m worth of property sales took place in the January to July 2014 period compared to just under €60m for the same period in 2013.
The number of properties sold in County Galway increased by over 40% in the first seven months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.
Excluding Galway city, 452 properties sold in all of county Galway last year, and this increased to over 640 property sales in 2014. The average selling price in the January to July 2013 period was just under €130k compared to an average of €133k for the same period in 2014.
For the period January to July 2014, a total of 43 properties sold in Athenry, at an average price of just under €132k. This was an increase on the 27 sales from the same period in 2013, which showed an average price of just over €126k. Over half the properties sold so far this year were sold for between €100k and €150k, with just over a quarter selling for over €150k.
There is no doubt that average prices are rising in the Athenry area and the number of houses sold increased by over 50%.
Prices in Pairc Na Ri, where a number of properties have sold this year, varied between €105k and €125k.
LOCAL ESTATE AGENT UNDERSTANDS THE APPEAL OF ATHENRY.
Pat Callanan of Pat Callanan Property Sales, sees the evidence of the increased activity on the ground: 'In my experience the demand for residential properties in Athenry and surrounding areas has increased since the start of the year. What we are finding now is that there is a demand for good quality 3 & 4 bedroom detached houses which are within commuting distance of Galway city and also within easy access to the M6 motorway. Similarly in Athenry town there is a strong demand for 3 & 4 bed semi-detached properties. Family homes in well serviced areas with schools & shops nearby and which are approx. 20 min drive from Galway city are proving to be the most sought after property type. It is these areas that show the most growth', according to Pat.
'We would however emphasise that now is a good time to buy as there is still some excellent value homes to be found in the county. I feel that the biggest challenge for potential buyers is the shortage of properties both in Athenry town and the surrounding areas. Prices have begun to increase slightly but the short supply of suitable properties will only fuel price increases in the near future' Pat added.
'Athenry is a thriving and popular town to live in. It has train access and there is also a daily bus to Galway city for commuters/students. There are national and secondary schools and in recent years an Irish speaking national and secondary school were opened. As well as the many shops, pubs, restaurants and café’s in the town centre the Athenry Shopping centre which is just a stroll away has ample free car parking. The anchor tenant here is Joyces Supermarket and there are many other shops in the complex including ladies clothing, printers, hair & beauty salon, late night pharmacy and café', Pat concluded.
The figures for Gort show an increase from 26 sales to 37, with an average price of €91k in 2014 compared to €71k in 2013.
Of the 37 properties sold in Gort, 26 were sold for less than €90k, with the next 10 sold for between €122k and €180k. Prices in Sliabh Carron, where a number of properties have sold this year, varied between €62k and €84k. The two houses sold in The Maples sold for €160k and €168k.
GROWING DEMAND IN GORT AND SOUTH GALWAY.
Austin McInerney of McInerney Auctioneers is very positive about the prospects of Gort and the south Galway area. 'This is down to the return of confidence in the market, the higher level of demand than supply, and without doubt, the soon to commence development of the northern section of the M18 motorway' according to Austin. 'Easy access to Limerick, Shannon, Ennis, Galway and Athlone, with a motorway connection as far as Dublin and Belfast will continue to add to the appeal of Gort for those seeking a home'.
'This ease of travel along with an impressive presence of commercial, sporting, leisure and educational facilities will make the area a very popular location for home owners. The extra residents will always increase the shopping spend, class numbers, those playing sport, and will have a very positive impact on a town that could suffer with a decrease in passing traffic'.
'Currently there is a very dramatic shortage of houses to rent in Gort, not just for the present demand, but also for the motorway workers due to start arriving shortly. This will increase the demand by investors for apartments, townhouses and semis, which will suit long term tenants, and eventually the purchasers will end up with a positive equity house to perhaps sell on again'.
'An increase in residents will also bring an increase in businesses renting units, also improving the variety on offer, and in turn making the town more attractive to other buyers and businesses. The domino effect will be very noticeable' according to Austin.
Austin is very optimistic for the future of Gort and its surroundings, 'the positives for the area can be multiplied further if the improved infrastructure leads, with some political help, to medium to large industries locating in the Gort area' Austin added.
The figures for Oranmore show an increase from 24 sales to 57, with an average price of €179k in 2014 compared to €161k in 2013. Nowhere in the county has seen such an increase in activity, with more than twice the number of properties sold compared to the same period in 2013.
Prices are also steadily on the rise, with half the properties selling for more than €150k.
INCREASING POPULARITY OF ORANMORE.
Local Estate Agent, Yvonne Sweeney, of Yvonne Sweeney Auctioneers, has no doubt about the enduring popularity of Oranmore. 'Oranmore has become the destination of choice for those working in the Galway area for a number of reasons: its close proximity to Galway City, ease of access to an excellent road, bus and rail network, choice of quality family homes, schools and services and, as a coastal village, the wonderful natural amenities it has to offer'.
Yvonne has seen a significant increase in demand in 2014 for both investment properties and family homes in Oranmore.
'The Capital Gains Tax Exemption incentive scheme first introduced by the Government in the 2012 budget, which offers tax relief on properties purchased in 2013 and its extension to the end of 2014, has brought a renewed confidence to the industry where the purchase of property is seen as a viable investment opportunity. International investors too perceive value in the property market here and this has lead to an increase in demand and, coupled with a limited supply, is driving prices in an upward direction.
Values achieved for three and four bedroom family homes in Oranmore have increased by an average of 10% in the last eight months and this in turn has allowed families to trade up from their starter homes to larger properties (in some cases carrying forward the balance of their mortgage ), which more adequately suit their changing needs. However it is the shortage of detached homes in the Oranmore area which is causing most distress and frustration for this category of buyers', according to Yvonne.
'The property price register offers a good indication of the rising trend in property prices and although it has its shortcomings it does offer transparency in providing information with regard to the address, date of sale and price achieved for all properties sold since its introduction in 2010. Three and four bedroom semi-detached houses in the village of Oranmore are currently selling for an average of €220,000.00 and €245,000.00 respectively. Prices vary considerably for detached houses with location, size, quality of build and finish and garden size and aspect, heavily influencing price. Unless there is new development in the Oranmore area prices will continue to rise. Rental properties are also in demand which in turn is driving rents in an upward direction. New development will ease this situation but not in the short term however', Yvonne added.
'Now is still a very good time to buy', Yvonne is in no doubt. 'If considering selling in order to trade up, ensure that your title deeds are in your solicitors’ possession so that there is no delay in getting contracts issued when a sale is successfully agreed. Have the groundwork done with regard to the market value of your home and have a mortgage offer in place for your next purchase. Private sales are moving at a swift pace so keep a close eye on the various property web sites and property pages in the Galway Advertiser, and call into your local property agent and make your requirements heard and noted'. Yvonne would be delighted to hear from buyers or sellers in the greater Oranmore area, drop in for a chat or call her on 091 795698.
Full details of all properties sold in the Athenry, Gort and Oranmore areas this year can be downloaded here: Athenry, Gort and Oranmore Report
The analysis of property prices by Advertiser.ie is based on the Residential Property Price Register produced by the Property Services Regulatory Authority.
It contains details on the sale of all residential properties in Galway.
The register provides information on the price, and address of all properties purchased during the period as declared to the Revenue Commissioners .
In the case of new properties, the prices on the register are shown exclusive of Vat at 13.5%.
The register does not contain information on specific details of sold properties which would allow for true like-for-like comparisons such as house size, site size, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, condition of house, if work is required etc.
Next Week: Ballinasloe, Headford & Loughrea: How is the property market in these county towns really performing?
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