According to the Property Price Register at the end of August, the number of property sales for Athlone 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 100 per cent in the number of properties sold in the January to July period in Athlone, from 68 properties in 2013 to over 130 properties in 2014.
This has continued a trend apparent over the last number of years, where the number of properties sold has increased consistently year on year.
Just over €11.5m worth of property sales took place in the January to July 2014 period compared to just under €7m for the same period in 2013.
When it comes to the actual change in prices, the situation is very dependent on location, and the sale of a small number of properties can distort the average sales figures for a particular area. For example, the price register shows an actual fall in the average price of a property in Athlone when comparing January to July 2014 vs the same period in 2013. However, on closer examination it is clear that prices are rising in most parts of the town, and the average figures for 2013 are inflated by some particularly high value sales.
Take, for example, the three most expensive properties sold in Athlone in the January to July 2013 period, at Portaneena, Athlone; Wineport, Glasson; and Benown, Glasson, which sold for €400,000, €400,000, and €450,000 respectively. The sales of these properties increased the average price of a property sold in Athlone in this period by almost €15,000. The average price of a property sold in Athlone in this period was just over €102,000, for the 68 properties sold. If these three properties had not been sold, the average in the period would be just under €88,000.
The average price of a property in Athlone for January to July 2014 was €89,000 for the more than130 properties sold.
Of these properties, 100 sold for €125,000 or less.
For all of County Westmeath, there was also a significant increase in the number of property sales for 2014 versus 2013. There was a 60 per cent increase in the number of properties sold, from 256 in the January to July 2013 period to well over 400 for the same period in 2014.
Of course, the price of individual properties depends on a large number of factors, and the figures can only give an estimate of what you can expect to pay in certain areas.
Local estate agent predicts continued growth in activity and prices
Dermot O’Meara, managing director of Sherry Fitzgerald O’Meara, sees the evidence of this on the ground. “The market is getting more active during 2014, and there is a lot of buying activity both for residential and commercial property. There is strong interest from investors who wish to purchase before prices rise, and families trading up are on the move also,” according to Dermot.
“2013 was very inactive but that has improved considerably this year. Prices have started to move up from a low base with competition from buyers for many detached houses and also for good commercial property, with good rental yields generally in the 10 per cent region, “ he added.
“Prices of buy-to-let investment houses are still low which distorts the PSRA register giving a false impression of the overall market in Athlone. This is only a residential register and is historical. I’m sure that there will be a different profile of property sold throughout 2014 and in the early part of next year, as we have many many properties in the process of being sold but not completed yet,” Dermot concludes.
Many reasons for increased market activity
Joe Naughton, of Joe Naughton Auctioneers, has also seen a significant increase in transactions over the last number of months. Joe finds this surprising as the holiday period is usually a quiet time for such transactions. A number of factors have led to this situation, according to Joe, “The general public feel the worst of austerity is over, and people are now more certain of where they stand; rents are high but mortgage rates are low, so mortgage repayments may be actually lower than rental payments,” and Joe feels this has increased the number of purchasers out there. There are also a number of foreign nationals, such as Polish buyers, who have entered the market.
“More realistic asking prices from vendors and low deposit interest rates have also pushed more investors into the market,” according to Joe.
“The view that property prices will continue to rise, and rents will remain strong encourages people to invest',” Joe added and concluded that “the assistance of a good auctioneering firm who take care of both buyers and sellers is also a huge help in this regard.”
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 Athlone.
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 per cent.
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.