How has the property market been for you Jan-May 2015? Austin McInerney: "Hectic with a significant return of buyer confidence, property sales have increased to a level not seen for years - coupled with a severe shortage of supply making it a very competitive market indeed. Property priced according to the current market should be sale agreed within one month or less."
Patrick Cormican, Winters Property Management: "We have seen a steady beginning to the year on the back of a strong end to 2014."
John Dolan: "We were busy in January and February but have been quieter since then."
Are house prices rising?
Austin McInerney: "Yes. We achieved €112,000 for a four bed semi-detached near Gort town centre, which reflects a significant change. Earlier in the year it was very difficult to break the €100k mark for a semi-detached in Gort. It would now be expected that a well presented three bed semi should be in excess of €100,000 from now on. Country property is in massive demand at the moment with a notable lack of supply and with the work well commenced on the M18 northern section, buyers are purchasing what they can before a further expected rise in value.
Patrick Cormican, Winters Property Management: "It has been well documented that there was a strong increase in prices during last year, particularly in the second half of the year. Our experience with recent sales so far in 2015 has been of further slight increases in the prices being achieved."
John Dolan: "House prices have stabilised but where there is value there are bidding wars. A lot of owners' expectations are getting higher."
Are people finding it easier to get mortgages?
Austin McInerney: "Yes, as the banks become more profitable, but we firmly believe that there is a wide base of potential buyers that would always find it straightforward to get a mortgage, with safe sound jobs and a good credit rating, that are now entering the market with confidence. They can sell their city property perhaps, have growing kids and want a larger site a few miles out of the city. Gort's accessibility to Limerick, Shannon and Ennis have always been a massive advantage over Loughrea and Athenry - and taking the superb range of facilitates, be it commercial, educational, business and pleasure on offer we expect demand to be a growing feature of our property market."
Patrick Cormican, Winters Property Management: "It is worth noting that a lot of the buyers in the first half of this year had pre-approved mortgages, i.e. these purchasers were not curtailed by the new mortgage rules that were brought in by the Central Bank earlier in the year. We would expect the effect of these new regulations to be more prevalent throughout the second half of the year and this may have an impact and stabilise prices achieved."
John Dolan: "First time buyers will get mortgages where they are in full employment. It is more difficult for self-employed people to get mortgages."
Are there many new builds or housing developments coming on stream?
Austin McInerney: No. Rural houses that are newly built are practically all for owner occupation. There is only one scheme in Gort, of 32 units about to commence construction, thus providing a further dilemma of supply issues. The new building regulations are making the cost to build far too expensive to make a site purchase affordable for builders as the prices of sale is still too low. Prices will have to rise and banks will have to become negotiable of site sales in order to increase development and therefore supply."
Patrick Cormican, Winters Property Management: "Galway like Dublin is also being affected by low supply levels as a result of a limited number of new builds coming onto the market in recent years. That said, construction has commenced in a number of developments earlier this year with works underway for 73 new homes on Ballymoneen Road, Knocknacarra by Burkeway Homes. This development will comprises a mix of three and four-bedroom semi-detached and detached homes. Work has also commenced for the first phase of a new development in Oranhill, Oranmore where 68 new homes are being built, mainly four bed semi-detached houses. This additional housing stock will be a welcome addition when fully complete."
How do you see the market developing in the next six months?
Austin McInerney: "We expect to be very busy sourcing sales. We do not look for repossession sales in our office so this further diminishes our listings. Land sales are improving, residential letting is at a historic high for demand and an equally historic high for lack of supply. We also note a slow rise in enquiries from commercial lettings. As always, our office is very busy for valuations. (Mr McInerney is a chartered surveyor, and a leading valuation expert. )
Patrick Cormican, Winters Property Management: "We expect the market to continue to experience strong levels of activity throughout the second half of the year. There remains a big demand for quality properties from both owner occupiers, and investors. Family homes and three / four bed semi d’s in the popular locations such as Salthill, Knocknacarra, Oranmore remain in high demand for owner occupiers while the ‘Buy to Let’ investors are continuing to be heavily influenced by the net return achievable at present in the market and given the low bank deposit rates."
John Dolan: There will be a demand for houses as long as owners market their property correctly, meaning they will be able to sell. A lot of first time buyers are not prepared to buy a property at auction as they feel there are too many costs pre auction and this outlay is wasted in the event of being outbid. Hence, I am finding that auctions are not achieving prices as good as the sale of similar houses by private treaty."
Any other important points for the public?
Austin McInerney: "If you are thinking of selling, get professional advice - not just on value, but presentation and the also what needs to be done so that contracts are ready to go quickly. Get legal and engineers advice early; don't wait for a buyer first. If you are thinking of buying, now is the time."
McInerney Auctioneers, Church Street, Gort 091 631078.
Winters Property Management, Unit 5A, Liosban Business Park, Tuam Rd, Galway, 091 771 935.
John Dolan Auctioneers, Main St, Ballinasloe / Galway Retail Park, Headford Road, Galway, 090 964 4933
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