House buyers look outside the cities as remote working grows

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Digital Desk staff

The price of a three-bedroom semi-detached house across the country rose by 0.6 per cent over the past three months to €236,046, an annual increase of 0.4 per cent. Reflecting the beginnings of a flight to rural locations, prices in the rest of the country’s towns rose by almost 1 per cent in 12 weeks to €163,345.

It comes amid reports of house buyers queueing overnight to purchase homes in Carlow over the weekend. The Irish Times reports that more than 30 people queued in bitter weather to better their chances of getting a home among the 18 new properties in Castle Oaks estate in Carlow town, with the houses coming on to the market on Saturday morning. Auctioneer June Doran maintains that the “unprecedented” interest comes from how work has been affected by the coronavirus; working from home has “freed up” people to consider moving beyond Dublin, she says.

According to the REA Average House Price Index, the price of a three-bedroomed semi-detached house in Dublin City rose by 0.5 per cent to €429,333 during the past three months, an annual increase of 0.2 per cent.

The capital’s biggest increases came in South County Dublin where prices rose by over €3,000 to €416,666 – up 0.8 per cent on the second quarter figure.

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North County Dublin selling prices rose by a more conservative 0.5 per cent, staying stable in Skerries and Balbriggan but increasing in Swords by an average of €5,000 to €295,000.

The lowest rise was felt in Ireland’s secondary cities – Cork, Limerick and Waterford – which experienced a selling price change of 0.15 per cent to an average of €256,250.

Three bed semis remained static in Cork, Limerick and Waterford cities, but Galway saw quarterly inflation of 0.5 per cent, with selling prices rising €1,500 to €285,000, and any properties with home office potential attracting strong interest from those who wish to locate in the west.

Commuter counties fared less well than Dublin, with three bed semis averaging €247,667 – a 0.3 per cent rise on the Q2 figure of €246,944.

The index concentrates on the actual sale price of Ireland's typical stock home, the three-bed semi, giving a picture of the second-hand property market in towns and cities countrywide.

Time to sell

The time it takes to sell the average property fell dramatically in the last three months as people look to head home with the intention of working remotely, according to the Q3 REA Average House Price Index.

Sales are also being driven by buyers chasing a limited supply before their mortgage offers expire, with the average three bed semi now reaching sale agreed after seven weeks across the country – a significant fall from the ten-week average in June.

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Speaking about the index, REA spokesperson Barry McDonald said: "Houses are taking an average three weeks less to sell across the country, driven by a combination of low supply and highly-motivated buyers.

“This is a huge shift in market behaviour, and one that we have not experienced in the last decade with almost every agent reporting a substantial drop in the time to reach sale agreed.

“Buyers are more focused, with a higher percentage of bids being made, and in many cases are looking to secure homes before their current mortgage approval runs out.

“They are competing with a definite shortage of stock nationwide, which is concerning our agents. This supply deficit is keeping prices buoyant and applying upward pressure in some cases."

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