Are buds beginning to show in the Garden County’s property market? Certainly sales for January and February of this year were higher than during the same period in any of the previous three years.
Last year saw 784 property transactions in Wicklow, according to new analysis from MyHome.ie. The study, based on figures from the Property Price Register, showed 2012 was the most successful of the last three years.
The total number of sales in the county last year was up 27.3 per cent on 2011. In terms of values, the highest proportion of sales – 540 – were worth less than €250,000.
“This (segment of the market) is also where the largest growth in sales occurred, up 33.5 per cent on the 2011 figure of 359,” said James Rogers of MyHome.ie.
“In contrast, there were just 193 sales in the €250,000 to €500,000 price range – a modest increase from 164 in 2011.”
“There were seven transactions over €1 million last year – with the most expensive sale being that of Humewood Castle in Kiltegan for €7,225,000 in November,” said Rogers.
Bray – with 166 transactions – accounted for over a fifth of the county’s total sales last year at 21.2 per cent, while Greystones saw 102 transactions, up from 65 in 2011.
“Confidence is coming back into the market and, for the first time in years, we are even getting the odd bit of multiple bidding,” said Gordon Lennox of Sherry FitzGerald, who specialises in Bray properties.
“The market here is driven by people who rented for a year to see what happened in the market, a period that then stretched to two, and more years. In fact, we have a shortage of good four-bedroom semis in places like Bray,” said Lennox.
By contrast Greystones has a good variety of house type.
“There is something for everybody here, from a cottage to a big house on the Burnaby,” said Derrick McGovern of McGovern Estates. He too feels inertia in the market is starting to lift.
“After years of the absolute horrors we have just come through with three good quarters in a row, for the first time in five years.”
Not alone are more sales taking place but prices are starting to rise.
“We have seen marginal market movement of one per cent growth in price per month this year so far,” said Lennox.
“Many young professionals renting in the city, when they want to put down roots in a community, find they can’t afford places like Blackrock or Monkstown before realising that Bray and Greystones are just a little further along the DART line.”
Once that happens, it is only a matter of time before Wicklow Town sees a fillip too.
“When the south Dublin market moves, Wicklow Town moves six months later,” said Eugene Dooley of Dooley Poynton in Wicklow Town.
“Ease of access by road and rail, plus seaside living, are the big attractions here,” said Dooley.
“Demand is mostly at the lower end of the market right now, to the point that we currently have a shortage of four bedroom detached family homes around the €250,000 mark.”