2008: Outlook Take advice on price and have cash ready


Various property  experts give their predictions

Wade Wise,Director,Savills HOK:

When will the market bottom out?The last 12 months have been turbulent with buyers' sentiment at a low ebb. Prices have fallen by as much as 20 per cent in some areas with most of this fall in the first half of 2007. Over the last three months we have seen the gap between achieved sale prices to asking prices diminish and some sale prices have been higher than the asking price. We are very close, or actually at, the stage of levelling off.

What trends do you expect to see over the coming year?Supply of properties for sale tightening, prices stabilising with little or no growth for 2008. Buyer sentiment improving and value for money.

Any advice to sellers?Don't be afraid of the new market conditions. The power of your position to effect a deal when you sell will put you in a strong position when making offers on other properties. It is a fact that prices have dipped but there are plenty of buyers out there. Select an agent with lots of experience who knows how to make a deal happen and can demonstrate a proven tract record.

Any advice to buyers?Go for the house you want. Put in offers that are reasonable but with a time limit.

What's good value in the current market?City centre apartments and family homes with good transport links to the city.

Where should people be buying investment properties?City centre apartments are attracting investors back into the market.

David Bewley,Director of residential, Lisney

When will the market bottom out?2007 has been a year of price reductions. Where properties were correctly priced initially or by way of reduction, they sold and the bottom of the market has probably been reached in these instances. There are many instances where price reductions were too little, too late and these properties are now facing a further reduction in the first quarter of next year. House prices have come back in some instances by about 20 per cent, and in real terms this means that prices are back to 2004/2005 levels.

What trends do you expect to see over the coming year?Correctly priced houses - the market is extremely price-sensitive.

Any advice to sellers?Most vendors appreciate that conditions have changed. Sometimes the first offer you get on your house may well be the best offer.

Any advice to buyers?Make sure your financial arrangements are up-to-date, be organised and in a position to move swiftly.

Where should people be buying investment properties?The age old adage of location still applies. Alongside that should go transport hubs (Dart, Luas, QBCs, M50) and accessibility to areas where the employment profile has changed, e.g. Sandyford and Cherrywood. Such areas see much more people working there than previously.

What's good value in the current market?Houses that need modernisation and upgrading.

Stephen Manek Director, Douglas Newman Good

When will the market bottom out?The market has nearly reached its lowest point. There may be small reductions early in 2008 but by March we expect it to be close or at the bottom, with an increase in activity after that.

What trends do you expect to see over the coming year?Buyers will see that prices have reduced substantially and realise now is a good time to buy despite the media barrage to the contrary.

Any advice to sellers?Sometimes the first bidder is the best bidder. Holding out does not always mean that you will get more.

Any advice to buyers?View property as a long term investment. Buying a property is for a home, an alternative to renting and over the long term property has outperformed every other type of investment.

What's good value in the current market?Properties in the middle market, say €650,000-€850,000, reflect excellent value. Vendors of these properties are seeing that the properties that they are buying, say €1 million to €1.2 million, have come back significantly and as a result they are willing to be realistic.

Where should people be buying investment properties?For potential longer term opportunities look along the proposed Metro North, linking the city centre to the airport and the proposed Luas lines to Cherrywood, Shankill and Bray. Properties at the entry level of the market have become very attractive buy-to-lets as rents have now surpassed the costs of interest-only mortgage payments.

Michael Grehan,Managing director,Sherry FitzGerald

When will the market bottom out?After 18 months of buyer apathy, there is a notable change in market sentiment in recent weeks. Both buyers and sellers have become reconciled to the new market values allowing for increased activity. The combination of this improved sentiment, a significant reduction in the stock of available properties and a more favourable interest rate environment bodes well for 2008.

What trends do you expect to see over the coming year?A more stable Dublin property market with private treaty the dominant method of sale. The winners will be first-time buyers with increased purchasing power from improved affordability and enhanced mortgage interest relief. Purchasers who recognise the relative gains of trading up in a corrected market will enjoy greater profile in 2008.

Any advice to sellers?Tackle the things within your control - asking price, presentation and market the property to the widest possible audience.

Any advice to buyers?Push yourself to get the house of your dreams. It's maybe more within your reach than you think. If you are a first-timer, buy your second house first - it will save on stamp duty.

What's good value in the current market?Family homes.

Where should people be buying investment properties?Find a home in a location you want to retire to, buy it now, rent it out and let somebody else pay off the mortgage.

Peter Kenny,Associate director, Colliers Jackson-Stops

When will the market bottom out?The market has been readjusting since September 2006, beginning with the withdrawal of funds by the banks from speculative developers/investors. With this type of finance removed, the cooling effect was immediate and, topped with rising interest rates, political indecision and turbulent stock markets, made the market sit back. This has resulted in a substantial lowering in demand and a build-up of stock. But properties are still selling where vendors are realistic. There have been noticeable price reductions in some areas. When people see value they will perceive that the market has bottomed out and begin to buy. This is beginning to happen and 2008 will produce a slow but stable trading environment, with quality and location winning out.

What trends do you expect to see over the coming year?Auctions being used for what they were intended for, special properties in unique situations - so a much slimmer but healthier auction profile.

Any advice to sellers?Realistic pricing. Check on the buyer ability to complete. Flexibility on closing dates. Presentation is important.

Any advice to buyers?Having cash will increase your bargaining strength. Make an offer for a limited period and move on.

What's good value in the current market?City centre apartments.

Where should people be buying investment properties?Central areas otherwise (for Dublin) Luas, Dart or equivalent rail/road links.

Robert Ganly,Director, Knight Frank Ganly Walters

When will the market bottom out?2008 will be a challenging year in the housing market and we anticipate that prices will not increase. With inflation running at about 5 per cent, it is reasonable to assume that prices, in real terms, are likely to fall between 5 and 10 per cent.

What trends do you expect to see over the coming year?Buyers will have a wider choice and they should be able to achieve better deals. This applies across the whole sector, both in second-hand residential and in the new homes sector.

Any advice to sellers?They should stop looking through the rear view mirror to what happened in their area six or 12 months ago. Instead, ask your agent "what is the real price of my house now?"

Any advice to buyers?Property has always been a good medium to long-term asset class. It was never for the faint-hearted. What people forget is that houses are homes, they are not investment products and were never intended to be. Take a long-term view and try to plan this purchase as your ideal location for the next decade-plus.

Where should people be buying investment properties?You cannot go wrong purchasing in and around the environments of any capital city, particularly if there is good rail and road infrastructure. Anywhere there is rapid rail or proposed metro stops will always make a property easier to sell than one that is not as well located.

Felicity Fox,Managing director, Felicity Fox Auctioneers

When will the market bottom out?I would hope that it already has. I believe there is still a lot of money in circulation and, even in the current climate, the right product can still achieve a remarkable price. Many buyers have entered the rental sector and we have seen rental levels soar. I don't think it is in our nature to pay other peoples' mortgages so sooner or later we will see buyers returning to the market place.

What trends do you expect to see over the coming year?More buyers back in the market place albeit looking for bargains. We will still see some exceptional prices for exceptional houses.

Any advice to sellers?Give a good product at an attractive price. Listen to the estate agent, you are paying for their expertise and it is not in our interest to undersell your home. Regardless of condition I feel it is vital to show an uncluttered property with particular attention to kitchen and bathroom hygiene. Make good any leaks or defects that could lead to further damage.

Any advice to buyers?There has to be compromise: the perfect property doesn't exist and there will always be something you want to change. The most important element is location.

What's good value in the current market?There are bargains across the board.

Where should people be buying investment properties?Dublin's city centre - the highest of rents and never a problem letting.

Shane Daly,Director,Gunne New Homes

When will the market bottom out?Sales of new homes have slowed significantly. There have been no price declines in the Dublin new homes market but deals have been done if the buyer is ready-to-go. There has been a correction in the provincial new homes market and we may see further corrections in this market next year.

What trends do you expect to see over the coming year?Developers will build-to-order. No longer will they build blocks of units unless contracts are signed.

Any advice to sellers?Show units have to be presented to a high standard. Be innovative in your marketing campaign and more customer-focused. Offer buyers choice in terms of interior finish. Review the design, functionality and spec of each home you bring to market with a focus on energy efficiency and recycled materials.

Any advice to buyers?It's a buyers' market but not for long. Make sure your new home is close to amenities, like schools, public transport and shops. Be familiar with the developments in the Transport 21 strategy as this will have a positive impact on homes near it.

What's good value in the current market?The docklands offers good value for money and rental yields are the strongest in the city.

Where should people be buying investment properties?Anywhere in the city centre close to colleges and employers. The docklands is my top tip - this will be the central business district going forward.