Royal County faces a more realistic market

While the number of residential transactions in Co Meath improved in 2014, the new Central Bank regulations on earnings multiples are taking their toll

Towns like Navan grew in the boom as commuter belts to Dublin, and the 2011 census showed that Meath had the largest outflow of daily commuters in Ireland. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Towns like Navan grew in the boom as commuter belts to Dublin, and the 2011 census showed that Meath had the largest outflow of daily commuters in Ireland. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

Meath county witnessed a 62.4 per cent increase in the number of residential transactions from 2013 to 2014. According to figures from myhome.ie, this upward trend has continued into 2015 with an increase of 48.6 per cent on transactions from January to March, compared to the same period in 2014.

However, this sentiment is not reflected throughout the county as a whole. John Bannon of Bannon Auctioneers in Dunshaughlin has seen a quiet start to 2015,

“The first quarter of 2014 was busy, but by the last quarter things became quiet. The main reason I see for this was cash buyers and investors had gone. This, coupled with new earnings multiples requirements – banks are simply not giving enough leeway for buyers to purchase,” says Bannon.

Eamon Gavigan of DNG Royal in Navan agrees. “Even though 2014 was a vast improvement on previous years, and we saw a rush of purchases at the end of 2014 where capital gains incentives were coming to an end, the new Central Bank regulations have shattered the market.

“It was a false market at the end of 2014 with frantic buying, but 2015 will be more realistic,” according to Ed Reilly of Sherry FitzGerald Reilly in Navan.

Ed Carey of Property Team Carey in Enfield agrees. “Supply is also an issue, there is still much negative equity in Meath, so vendors are simply not putting their houses on the market.”

Trim

Guide prices are a concern for agents in all parts of the county with the exception of Trim. “When vendors hear that prices have risen by 10 per cent on previous years, they want to price their houses beyond their actual values” says Bannon in Navan. All agents are adamant that if properties are priced sensibly they will sell.

In Trim, Aidan Heffernan of Sherry FitzGerald Royal has witnessed the growth outlined in the 2015 myhome.ie figures. “We have seen a tremendous improvement this year with a mix of first-time buyers, trader-uppers and commuters from Dublin,” says Heffernan.

Heffernan and his colleagues cite the that Trim’s status as a heritage town, coupled with it winning the Tidy Towns and Entente Floral, as factors for increasing demand and higher house prices in the town.

The average price in 2015 for a three-bed semi-detached home in Trim is €205,000 compared to €185,000 in the county’s capital of Navan. This is a marked increase on 2013/14 figures where similar houses in Navan were achieving in the €125,000 region.

Commuter belts

Towns like Navan grew in the boom as commuter belts to Dublin, and the 2011 census showed that Meath had the largest outflow of daily commuters in Ireland, with more than 22,000 people commuting daily.

“The commuter belts of Ashbourne, Ratoath and Dunboyne have witnessed a strong increase,” according to John Harrington of Smith Harrington in Navan, “but properties outside urban areas are slow to move.”

As with many other areas in the country, Meath has few new developments as the build to sale margin is still too narrow. Many of the new houses on offer are unfinished developments where new developers have taken up the gauntlet to complete builds.

An example of this is Cois Glaisin, in Johnstown, where only 20 houses in the original development sold, and new developers Bridgedale Homes are completing the remaining 320 properties, which will be sold by Raymond Potterton & Co.

Prices are yet to be decided but builders and agents are all waiting to see if Clois Glaisin achieves prices with decent margins. “It is the ultimate litmus test for property in the county,” says Ed Reilly of Sherry FitzGerald Reilly.

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