Confidence growing in Co Wicklow property market, despite lack of stock

The county remains the second most expensive in which to buy a home, despite a drop in transactions

Wicklow town has seen a drop in sales compared with 2014, but plans in place for the redevelopment of the waterfront could help to attract buyers. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Wicklow town has seen a drop in sales compared with 2014, but plans in place for the redevelopment of the waterfront could help to attract buyers. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

Recent figures released by myhome.ie show that transactions in Wicklow for 2015 during the period January to March, are down by 13.4 per cent compared to 2014.

Wicklow is the only county in Leinster to have witnessed a fall in transactions for this period, but agents say that lack of stock and new housing developments are distorting these figures.

This week Wicklow County Council debated plans to expand the population of the four main towns in the county by 43 per cent, an increase of about 31,000 people. The local authority projects that this would require a 66 per cent increase in the number of houses in Bray, Greystones, Wicklow and Arklow on the basis that smaller family sizes will require a greater number of homes than was previously the case.

South Wicklow

Sherry FitzGerald

“The lack of a major employer in the area means less demand, and as soon as pricing becomes viable, developments such as Emyvale can commence again.”

DNG’s Dolores Somers finds similar parallels, where low prices are stagnating new builds, but “the ripple effect from Dublin is trickling down and derelict properties are in demand – where cash buyers are picking up fixer-uppers in the €100,000 bracket”.

Wicklow town

Eugene DooleyDooley PoyntonCentral Bank

Catherine O’Reilly of Sherry FitzGerald has seen some uplift. “While there is better sentiment and more buyers, stock is still an issue, with very little for first-time buyers under €220,000, with the exception of new builds.”

According to John Doyle of HJ Byrne in Bray: “North Wicklow is going through a similar experience to Dublin. Smaller suburban homes in the €180,000-€370,000 bracket are selling well, and larger up-scale properties are now being offered – showing renewed confidence. It would be wrong not to be mildly optimistic despite restrictive Central Bank regulations.”

Gordon Lennox of Sherry FitzGerald agrees that sales of four-bedroom detached properties are increasing in north Wicklow, and echoes other agents concerns with the new Central Bank regulations.

He adds: “There is a healthier stock supply than last year and I think 2015 will be calmer in terms of appreciation, but new rules mean people are renting for longer, rather than apartment-buying to get on the property ladder, which they would have done six years ago.”

At the upper end of the market, there were 14 sales over the €1 million mark in 2014, with the majority of these properties in Bray, Greystones and Delgany. So far this year, only two houses are listed on the Property Price Register having achieved more than €1 million; Tavistock House in Greystones which sold for €1.32 million in February, and Boystown House appeared again this February, for €6.35 million, having appeared in January 2014 for €4.925 million – which didnt’ reflect the full sale price for the estate.

While the amount of transactions in 2015 may be lower than 2014, it is the value of sales that really matter, and overall Wicklow, which evaded the dramatic price fluctuations seen in other counties, is still the second most expensive county to buy a home in Ireland and has had sales in excess of €60 million so far this year.

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