Local auctioneers and estate agents report increased activity in housing market


Local auctioneers and estate agents report increased activity in housing market

There’s a general consensus in property circles in Fermoy regarding a pick-up in interest in the property market, with viewings showing a considerable increase and an increase in mortgage lending activity.

Saturday, 23 February 2013
10:00 AM GMT

Auctioneers and estate agents in Fermoy are reporting a definite pick-up in the housing market in the area. The consensus though is that while banks are lending for mortgages, the amounts are lower, meaning that purchasers have to go for lower priced properties.

“There’s been an increase in activity since the middle of last year, there’s some signs of recovery alright” Michael O’Donovan of Sherry Fitzgerald O’Donovan told The Avondhu. “We have first time buyers coming to us and also cash buyers looking for investment properties,” he reports. Depending on location, he says, house prices are down by as much as 60% from peak times.

Michael attended a Sherry Fitzgerald property exhibition in London last week. “There was a lot of interest there, both from ex-pats looking to buy to move home to retire and for investment,” he said.

Denis Collins from Collins O’Meara agreed, “there’s definitely a pick up from this time last year.” Viewings-wise, he said, the numbers are up a fair bit. “There’s more of a buzz.” But, he confirms, while mortgages are being approved, they are for lesser amounts so prospective buyers are going for the lower end of the housing market. The rental market has picked up considerably, Denis reports, so much so that there’s a shortage of three to four bedroom houses in Fermoy and people are having to settle in outlying areas instead.

As regards commercial properties “there’s not much of a pick-up, it would be limited.” “It’s better than it was but it still has a ways to go,” is how Mr Collins summed things up this week.

Michael Barry of Dick Barry and Sons agrees that while houses are selling a bit more they are smaller houses at the lower end of the market. “It’s really a buyer’s market, there’s great value to be got but it’s at the smaller end, anything over €200,000 is nearly considered the elite market now,” he explained. He believes people are nervous about taking our mortgages now. “They are a bit slower to commit, we’re seeing more people renting which will probably push up rental prices”, he says.

There’s tougher criteria for mortgages now and banks are also stress testing them. As regards property investors – Michael says “they’re gone from the market altogether. They made up 35-40% of the market in the good days, but they’re gone now and the property tax will keep them out.”

Jim McCarthy of Jim McCarthy Auctioneers and Valuers is “delighted” to report a bit of a pick up. “There’s a slight improvement and a big increase in the amount of property being offered for sale,” he says. He’s disappointed though with the amount of properties available for letting. He believes it’s due to the lack of jobs in Fermoy and the fact that many people who moved to the town to take up jobs in the area have left again.

Jim, who’s officially regulated as an auctioneer and valuer by the Property Services Regulatory Authority, believes the property tax may lead to increased business in valuations, but it remains to be seen, depending on how the valuations will be arrived at and whether or not it’ll be worth people’s time to seek their own independent valuations, if they don’t agree with those selected for them.

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