Seller’s market is back as events in Stepaside reveal

Developers will sometimes release more new homes in a scheme than they plan to sell

The  Belmont scheme  in Stepaside: there is no cancellation list but, according to the agent, there is “an inquiry list where interested buyers will be informed of further houses coming on”

The Belmont scheme in Stepaside: there is no cancellation list but, according to the agent, there is “an inquiry list where interested buyers will be informed of further houses coming on”

 

In many ways, the new homes market in Stepaside, Co Dublin has been emblematic of all that has happened the property market in recent times.

Prior to the downturn in 2007, such was the demand in the Sandyford/Stepaside area that schemes such as Belarmine and Aikens Village were selling out before the showhouse door had even opened.

The crash ensued and a funereal fog descended on the vast tracts of undeveloped land in the area.

The last couple of years have seen a reawakening, and new schemes have been coming on stream with lots of buyer interest.

Most recently the popular Belmont scheme by SDR Group launched its latest phase of 20 or so family houses; on launch weekend three weeks ago, a queue had gathered outside well in advance of the official viewing time for three- and four-bedroom homes priced between €425,000 and €465,000.

One intending buyer contacted The Block to say they were 21st in the queue and when their turn arrived, a Sherry FitzGerald agent informed them that holding deposits of €7,000 each had been taken for 17 of the properties. They asked to be added to a cancellation list if the sale of some of their preferred houses did not proceed.

When they later contacted the agent, they were informed that the developer was not going to operate a cancellation list, but they would be informed if any of the properties were released at a later date. The disappointed buyer suggests that this offer will presumably come with a price increase.

The Block put this to Sherry FitzGerald which said it was not unusual for developers to release more new homes in a phase than they plan to sell, ie they usually expect about 20 per cent of sales to fall through.

A spokeswoman said the Belmont sales were currently being processed, and when SDR assessed the final tally, it would decide how many houses to re-release and when.

So is there a cancellation list? “No, it’s an inquiry list where interested buyers will be informed of further houses coming on.”

Will those houses be offered at the same price? “The developer is under no obligation to sell at the same price. They could re-release what’s left in the next three weeks at the same price, or they could wait until the new year when more houses are completed and there are further houses coming on and increase prices then.”

Clear as mud so. What’s obvious, however, is an emerging new homes market where the seller holds all the cards and where there is very little leverage for the beleaguered first-time buyer.