Ireland property market sees strong growth in sales and value

Residential property sales across Ireland nationally increased by 8.4% in the first half of 2017, compared to the same period last year and the value was up 15%, the latest research shows.

In Dublin sales were up 11% and values up 13.2% with a noticeable rise in both in the city’s commuter belt with the value up in all counties apart from Clare and Donegal, the data from property website MyHome also shows.

There were 23,148 sales nationally in the first half of the year and the value of those transactions also increased significantly, rising from €5.1 billion to €5.8 billion.

While sales figures rose in 20 counties and fell in six, the amount of money spent on property in each county was up in all with the exception of Clare and Donegal where the amount spent fell back by 19% and 7% respectively.

While the falls in the number of sales in Galway, Limerick and Waterford were low or even marginal, there were sizable falls in Longford of 19%, Sligo down 17.2% and Donegal down 14.5%.

Unsurprisingly, it was Dublin that led the way in the first six months of the year with 7,455 sales and the amount of money spent in the capital also grew by 13.2% from €2.7 billion to over €3 billion. The next highest number of sales was in Cork with 2,532, followed by Kildare at 1,212, Galway 1,138, Meath 970 and Limerick 834.

Angela Keegan, Managing Director of MyHome.ie said the overall increase in sales in the first six months was a move in the right direction for the property market. ‘In 2016 there were over 48,000 house sales and we think that if current trends continue we should comfortably exceed 50,000 sales this year,’ she explained.

‘The rise in sales and values in the commuter belt is the standout feature in these figures and indicates that the lack of supply of affordable houses is pushing buyers out of Dublin. We can see that the number of sales in Meath is up 43% while the value of transactions is up 47%. In Wicklow sales are up 21% while values are up 25%,’ she pointed out.

But she also pointed out that the downside of this trend and something which has been highlighted in recent reports is the increase in commuting times for people working in Dublin.

‘The impact of rising prices is also evident even in counties which recorded small increases in the number of sales. For example the number of sales fell in Galway by 1.4% but the value of those transactions was up 9%. Similarly in Limerick the number of sales was down marginally by 0.1% but the value of those transactions was up 16.7%,’ she said.

Keegan said speculation around the future of the Help to Buy scheme had caused unnecessary uncertainty in the property market. ‘This initiative was introduced as a supply side initiative to encourage the construction of affordable homes. We are seeing a lot of new developments coming on stream now and that is something which really needs to continue if we are to get to grips with the current housing crisis. Help to Buy on its own won’t solve the crisis. We need a coordinated package of measures for that but abolishing it would be a retrograde step,’ she added.

Other counties which saw strong sales growth included Cavan up 27%, Offaly up 18%, Roscommon up 13.5% and Kerry up 12.6%. Several of these counties also saw significant rises in the value of transactions with Cavan was up 37%, Offaly up 36%, Roscommon up 27% and Kerry up 12%.

Several counties in the Midlands and Border region bucked that trend. For example the number of sales in Laois rose by just 0.7%, but the value of transactions increased by 21%. In Westmeath the figures were 3.1% and 28% while in Monaghan the figures were 1.5% and 22%.

The counties with the lowest number of sales were Longford at 177, Monaghan at 201, Leitrim at 224 and Carlow at 247 while overall the most money was spent in Dublin at over €3 billion with the least being spent in Longford at €16 million.

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