On the move
FIONA REDDANon the hunt for a family home
ITS FINALLY here, but how will the arrival of the much-talked about price register, which gives historical sale prices back to 2010, actually impact on buyer behaviour?
Already, it has affected us. We had been bidding on a house prior to the launch of the register and the price had exceeded the asking price with three or four interested parties.
While it was a combination of factors that swayed our hand, the revelation last Monday that the house next door to our desired property had sold for €40,000 less – and appeared to be in better condition – some 10 months ago played its part in pushing us out of the running.
After all, would buying at the higher price have instantly plunged us into negative equity? Or has the market really jumped that much over the past year? It’s a difficult call to make, and one we may yet regret because the house had a lot to offer, but I don’t think we’re the only would-be house purchasers thinking like this.
Indeed one agent at a viewing over the weekend recalled how he had taken several angry calls from potential buyers that week arguing about an asking price for a property he had put on the market. The callers were wondering why it was on at a price that was significantly higher than properties that had recently sold on the street. His argument was that it was a completely different property to those that had previously sold, which is a valid defence, but you can see the register acting as a ceiling on a particular street. People are unlikely to be prepared to pay over and above what their neighbour has. At least not in this market.
Now when a new house appears for sale, the first thing I – and many others do I’m sure – is check historical sale prices in the area. But sometimes a little bit of information can be dangerous. Perusing the register I have spied some properties that appear to have been sold at bargain prices, but even if you can find the old brochure for the property online, it’s still difficult to gauge from it the amount of work needed on the property.
And of course the vendor has to agree to sell at that price – so just because someone negotiated a deal €100,000 less, doesn’t mean you will be able to also. In that regard, you could spend the next year making low-ball offers based on one or two sale prices from the register and end up nowhere.
It would also be nice to see some sort of index derived from the – admittedly very raw – data published by the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) giving a feel for price per square foot. It’s how the market works in countries like France, and offers a level of comfort for buyers.