Home-buyers looking to move out of urban areas, say estate agents

Home-buyers looking to move out of urban areas, say estate agents
Despite fears of a Covid-19 motivated downturn in the market, REA agents say the market is steady. Stock image.

A yearning for more space, bigger gardens and reliable broadband has fuelled an unexpected surge in interest in house sales since letting agents reopened.

Home-buyers are now looking to move outside of urban centres, swapping city living for more space at a lower price, according to the Real Estate Alliance -REA-.

The group said the huge increase in working from home has caused a total change in priority for many buyers, in particular those shopping in the second-hand market.

Gardens, home office space and reliable broadband are now topping the list for shoppers, replacing transport links as the most important thing.

Despite fears of a Covid-19 motivated downturn in the market, REA agents say the market is steady.

"The majority of our agents throughout the country have reported a release of pent-up demand since offices reopened," said REA spokesman, Barry McDonald.

“Previous surveys had noted an increase in people looking to work from a home for a number of days a week from outer suburban counties, but working full-time out of the office has changed housing demand into a nationwide search.

"Enquiries around semi-detached properties have become more work-focused with attic conversions, potential home offices and the ability to install garden rooms suddenly high on people’s agendas."

Home-buyers looking to move out of urban areas, say estate agents

Agents in different parts of the country are reporting strong interest. In Killarney, one agent said they have been contacted by buyers in Dublin looking to leave the city and move to the south-west.

Shoppers could be in a position to get much bigger properties for the same price if they look further afield.

In Limerick, Pat Dooley of REA Dooley said the market has been "very active", in particular for first-time buyers who are "anxious to buy something before their mortgage approval runs out", while in Roscrea, Seamus Browne of REA Seamus Browne said buyers are "slow to make an offer" despite plenty of viewings.

Eamonn Spratt of REA Spratt in Dungarvan said there has been an "exceptionally high" level of interest since reopening.

In general, pricing is pretty stable. Nationally, prices are down by 0.15%. In Cork city, prices remain unchanged, while in county areas, they have risen 1.1%.

There has been no change in Waterford, and prices have increased in Kerry and Limerick city, and decreased slightly in Tipperary.

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