Is this the most wonderful time of the year to seal a house deal?
With some prices reduced, agents say now might be a good time to put in a cheeky bid
You may need to root around, but a pre-Christmas bargain is possible. Photograph: Moodboard/Brand X/Getty
Is it possible to bag a bargain house pre-Christmas? There’s a lot of talk about price drops but a search online reveals little that is visibly discounted. To find a so-called steal you have to root around, just like you would in a department store’s January sale.
While some high-end homes have seen significant price reductions; number 27 Ailesbury Road, for example, has recently seen a cool €1 million, or 13 per cent, shaved off its asking price, bringing it down to €6.5 million. Most reductions though are more modest and in the order of just five to 10 per cent of the original asking price, says Ronan Crinion, managing director of Move Home, whose agency operates in the areas of Dublin 3 and Dublin 9. He bought his own home in December and says it’s a really good time to buy. “This business is cyclical and vendors want to make deals so that they can sit down to their Christmas dinner knowing the property is sale agreed.”
Make a cheeky offer is his advice. “Offers that would be laughed at other times of the year will be considered. The hungrier the agent or vendor is to make the sale the closer you will get to 10 per cent off.”
Is there a polite way to make such an offer? No, says Harriet Grant, head of City Residential with Savills. “It is up to the agent to present offers to the vendors. If we felt it was an offer worth considering we would give the vendor our recommendation.” She also says a low offer might insult the vendors to the point where they will choose another purchaser if there ends up being two or more parties involved.
While there are few January sale-style bonanza price slashes of 50 per cent, there is value to be had. By registering details with online bidding platforms you can express your interest formally even outside of office hours.
In the south Dublin village of Dalkey, number 4 Ulverton Close, off Ulverton Road, a four-bed detached house of 200sq m close to Castle Park School, is down 10 per cent from €1.045million to €945,000, through agent Sherry FitzGerald.
In Dublin’s Rathfarnham, where vendors have competition from brand-new, walk-in condition, A-rated homes, 67 Marley Court, Rathfarnham, near Nutgrove Shopping Centre, is a four-bed mock-Georgian 1980s-built semi that has been reduced six per cent from €575,000 to €540,000.
Parts of Dublin 6W have been similarly affected by competition from the new-homes sector. Number 59 Cypress Grove Road, a fine four-bed semi of 164sq m within walking distance of a slew of schools but with an F Ber rating, has seen a 25 per cent increase in viewings since its price dropped 7.7 per cent from €650,000, when it launched last August, to €599,950 at the end of November, says David Swaine of Property Partners O’Brien Swaine.
Homes in need of modernisation are struggling, in part due to the fact that builders’ tenders have risen by 15 per cent in the last 12 months. If you had to sell the property for the price you paid for it plus these costs, would you get your money back? Surveyor Patrick Kelleher advises asking before calculating what such a home will cost to renovate and make energy efficient.
Take number 34 Maretimo Gardens in Blackrock, Co Dublin. The three-bed terraced house of 101sq m is in need of complete modernisation. Situated a minute’s walk from the village, houses on the other side of this quiet cul de sac have some of the best sea views in the city. Number 34 doesn’t have sea views but has a west-facing back garden and shares access to the private lane that leads down to a rail path for sea views and a scenic stroll to Blackrock Dart station five minutes away. When it came to market last May it was seeking €775,000 through agent Haines. This price was reduced last week to €725,000, a drop of 6.5 per cent.
Prices in Dublin 3 have been quite bullish in the last 12 months with much of the stock coming to market in need of upgrading. Number 6 Hyacinth Street, an oddly configured end-of-terrace cottage, 85sq m in size, is one such property. Situated on a quiet little cul de sac off Ossory Road in North Strand, and boasting a converted attic, it has been reduced 6.78 per cent from €295,000 last September to €275,000 through agent Move Home. Across the tracks in East Wall, also D3, 96 St Mary’s Road is a two-bed mid-terrace house of 55sq m with a south-facing rear garden, that has been reduced 5.8 per cent from €340,000 to €320,000.
While consumer confidence and concerns over Brexit held the autumn market back, says Alistair Hickey, managing partner at Felicity Fox, it is doer-uppers in Dublin 8 that are selling the best. Hickey agrees buyers are paying a premium for such properties, but they have factored that in their costs. “They’re taking into account that they’re going to be living there for the next 10 years.”
Gary Jacobs of Allen & Jacobs, with offices in Blackrock and Dublin 8’s Clanbrassil Street, says prices have fallen and the same prices are not being achieved now that were last spring. But he isn’t advising vendors to drop prices – at least not yet. “There are so many buyers not in the market, now is not the time to make a call on reducing prices.”
He’d rather wait and suggests holding off until the first two to three weeks of January to see if the market will pick up.