‘The supply of new properties needs to increase notably’

Estate agents on 2015: The new Central Bank rules have made it more challenging for first-time buyers and supply remains a key problem


Keith Lowe, managing director, DNG

There is a social housing and rental housing crisis which requires specific Government measures to alleviate it such as those the UK government have implemented, ie directly providing funding for the construction of private and social housing schemes; providing funding for the completion of part built schemes; providing loan guarantees to builders to construct social housing and providing funding for investors to build buy to let homes – for a start.

As property prices rose sharply in 2014 it facilitated an increase in the number of downsizers this year in the capital. This trend will continue into 2016. First time buyers continue to dominate purchases at the sub €500,000 price level but the new Central Bank rules has made it more challenging for them.

As an example, a buyer purchasing a new house for €350,000 in Dublin would require a deposit of €48,500 where as in the UK they would only need €17,500 under the government-led New Buy Guarantee Scheme (Help to Buy). However, with a new year ahead many of those buyers should be able to avail of 90 per cent mortgages and obtain higher mortgage amounts under the exception rules which operate through all the main mortgage providers. Property prices are likely to rise again by a single digit figure in 2016 and these will remain tempered as there is likely to be more choice of re-sale homes and an increase in new housing developments as there will be a large number of new homes projects breaking ground next year.


Marian Finnegan, chief economist, Sherry FitzGerald

Despite the strength of economic recovery, the performance of the residential property market remains somewhat volatile. On a positive note, there is a healthy uplift in transaction activity across all regions combined with more broad-based price growth. That said, the quantum of available property for sale has fallen by 14 per cent nationwide, while the available supply outside of Dublin has fallen by 20 per cent in the12 month period to July 2015.

Supply, as illustrated by the quantity of property advertised for sale, has diminished in most locations. Furthermore, a notable proportion of the properties on the market such as repossessed assets, former investment properties and executor sales, potentially require a significant investment after the sale.Such properties may be more challenging to finance in the new regulatory environment, thereby negatively impacting price performance. That said, the quantity of new properties developed remains well below market requirements.

The supply of new properties needs to increase notably to provide accommodation for our growing population. If this does not occur there is every likelihood that the emerging rental crisis will worsen and the moderate abatement in price inflation will be reversed.


David Cantwell, director, Hooke and MacDonald

Now that most historic mortgage approvals have been drawn down the buyer profile is changing with cash buyers, mainly trader-uppers, crowding out many first time buyers. Cash sales had slipped to around 40 per cent of the market but is now in the 45 per cent - 50 per cent bracket, especially for more upmarket properties.

New homes in 2016 will prove to be in strong demand. The main limiting factors being excessive building costs and planning regulations, infrastructural deficiencies and mortgage restrictions.


David Byrne, director, Lisney

Cash buyers made are most prevalent at the upper end of the market where perhaps surprisingly the majority of houses over €1m continue to be purchased on an all cash basis. Here there is a smaller pool of buyers, however there was strong demand for prime properties when they came to the market with the result that there were often multiple buyers competing for what was a relatively low supply of properties. Interestingly, a higher percentage of houses at the upper end of the market were purchased by the domestic market this year, perhaps reflecting a greater confidence in the Irish economy. However cash rich buyers returning to Ireland remained a notable component of this market.


Rowena Quinn, managing partner, Hunters

We would describe campaigns as being a little more sluggish and the length of time from launch to completion was greater. This was due partly, to the new Central Bank lending guidelines, the length of time to confirm receipt of mortgage approval for purchasers, and the necessity in same instance for a price reduction.

It was about aligning purchaser and vendor expectations to conclude an acceptable sale price for both parties. The last quarter has certainly presented a greater level of activity.

This is a direct result of less stock being available and everyone wanting to close. We would like to see a steady flow of stock with more accurate asking prices, based on comparable evidence and recent sales.


Rena O’Kelly, head of residential, Knight Frank

The deposit element has not proven the biggest obstacle given that the deposit required for a €300,000 house is 12.7 per cent and not 20 per cent as is all too often quoted. The real difficulty has been the 3.5 times loan-to-income ratio given that most first time buyers are young and tend to be at the early stages of their earning potential.

Knight Frank is noticing particularly strong performance in the luxury trade-down product e.g. penthouses, mews properties and high-end apartments all trading extremely well at present. The stabilising of the market has provided a more predictable environment to transact in.


John McCartney, director of research, Savills Ireland

The early announcement of the Capital Gains Tax change sucked activity that would naturally have happened in 2015 into 2014. Investors who have remained in the market – and there are many – can no longer factor-in the value of the tax break when bidding for properties. Finally, the Central Bank’s new mortgage rules have also contributed to slower price growth in Dublin where loan-to-value and income ratios are more binding. Ironically, these lending restrictions have had the opposite effect outside Dublin.

By making it harder for people to buy in town they have displaced demand into the commuter counties. As a result inflation outside the capital has accelerated and Meath, Kildare and Louth have experienced some of the fastest growth in asking prices during 2015.


Declan Cassidy, director, Quillsen

Sales slowed down in the autumn with lower offers coming due to lending restrictions and vendors taking time to realise they were not going to get more than the last sale on the road, but probably the same price as their neighbour got in Feb/March. Vendors had got used to price increases in every quarter since 2013.


Celia Lamb, head of country homes, Ganly Walters

For large period houses on land the international buyer is extremely active, motivated by the very favourable sterling and dollar exchange rates and the value on offer. Much of the receiver, Nama and bank stock has now washed through the market and is sold.

We are now back to relying on the private seller, however relatively few properties are coming to the market. Demand is seriously outstripping supply and we are seeing numerous buyers bidding on the same property.