There are indications that some sections of the property scene in Cork are finally beginning to recover after several years of slow sales.
According to the latest statistics available from the Property Price Register and analysed by myhome.ie, the number of property transactions in Cork in 2012 was up over 23 per cent on the previous year. This would make last year the most successful of the past three years in terms of sales. The big- gest growth area is in the category of properties selling for under €250,000, while Cork city accounted for just over 20 per cent of all sales.
Auctioneer Andrew Moore, who has been selling property in Cork for 30 years, believes supply is now becoming an issue. “The problem is that a high majority of prospective purchases are first time buyers and there is an incredibly low supply of decent stock coming to market,” he says. “Unquestionably, there is good demand for a particular house type, such as mostly starter homes but there is a bit of interest at the €500,000 bracket but very little is coming to market to match it.”
Angela Keegan, managing director of myhome.ie, says that while Cork is following trends set in other urban areas in Ireland, the outcomes there are positive.
“It is encouraging to see transactions up in Cork with a 23 per cent increase in 2012 when compared to 2011. Overall, 2,694 properties sold in Cork last year,” she said. “The figures show that the biggest increases have come in properties selling for less than €250,000.”
Two things are impacting on that: one is a fall in prices and the second is first-time buyers availing of the tax relief at source scheme before it was removed at end of 2012.”
While already this year there has been one transaction in Cork worth more than €500,000, the figures published do show a slowdown in more expensive properties. It should be noted that last year in Cork, there were some 444 sales in the €250,000 to €500,000 price range. This is up by 14 on the 2011 figure of 430 sales, but significantly short of the 2010 figure of 665 sales.
If we look at the next category of properties worth between €500,000 and €750,000 – the number of sales has fallen from 45 in 2011 to 32 in 2012. More expensive properties, again in the €750,000 to €1 million bracket, saw nine transactions in 2012 and in 2011. And this was a drop on the 2010 figure of 20.
“The decrease in the number of properties sold over the €500,000 mark is what you would expect,” says Keegan. Of the six transactions over €1 million in Cork last year, the largest was the €3.7 million paid for Seamark in Glandore.
There is talk that small investors are returning to the Cork market, buying up city centre properties in need of refurbishment and capitalising on the rental market in the city.
For those looking to make an investment, the areas of Cork with most activity are Douglas and Ballincollig. Outside the city suburbs, Youghal is showing some recovery, while Kinsale remains stable.
“We don’t have any hard facts but we are hearing that small investors are coming back to the market and are buying as a long term play at the moment,” says Keegan.