Developments in Limerick are nearing completion and there is interest at all levels of the market, says Kevin O’Neill.
There has been a slowdown in the property market in Limerick in the last 12 months, though interest remains strong in the city and immediate suburbs, according to local agents.
The issue is a general lack of available stock and the relative slow delivery of new builds. However, hopes are high that this might be changing as several new developments near completion and open viewings commence. MyHome.ie’s Property Price Report for Q3 2019 detailed the changes in the Limerick market.
Overall, the average asking price in Limerick is €195,000, both city and county. This represented an increase of 3.2% in the quarter for county areas, but a decline of 2.49% in city asking prices.
When it comes to buying a two-bed apartment, prices are up 8.2% year on year and are now at an average of €132,000, though available stock remains quite low. The price of an average four-bed semi-detached has soared in Limerick, though. It has increased by 33% year-on-year. They are now going for an average price of €129,000.
The increase in Limerick is the biggest in the country by some margin — four-bed detached homes in Dublin increased by 17% in a year, the second highest increase in the country. However, due to the relative lack of such properties selling, the statistics are always likely to fluctuate.
Limerick saw a decline of 4.6% in the number of sales in the first half of the year, with 875 sales filed with Revenue. It wasn’t the sharpest decline in the province — in Co Kerry, sales dropped by 22.8%, for example — but it was a disappointing performance in comparison to counties Cork and Tipperary, where sales increased.
In a study by the Real Estate Alliance (REA), local sellers said that the decline in price would continue as new developments flood the market. Michael O’Connor of REA O’Connor Murphy Auctioneers, based in Henry Street, said that the conditions in the market were not changing much.
Elsewhere in the country, sellers are pointing to Brexit and the uncertainty over the future of the Help-to-Buy Scheme, which was just renewed in the Budget, as factors in the slow movement in the market but, in Limerick, there are other factors at play too.
"The number of properties on the market currently appears lower,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Three-bed semis in the county are still slower on the market, however we do see an increase in buyers coming to these areas due to better value for money with the accessibility of the suburban towns also being a factor.”
The market for three-bed semi-detached houses was unchanged over the past three months, with properties in County Limerick on the market for eight weeks and averaging €165,000. Limerick City properties are taking five weeks to sell and averaging €200,000.
There are signs that the market is picking up, though. For example, local media in Limerick reported in September that six luxury detached homes in Beechfield Grove, Monaleen in the Limerick city suburbs were attracting significant interest. More than 70 people had contacted the selling agents to seek more information on the properties.
Prices started at €520,000 for the new development which was described as being finished to the highest standards and boasted a sough-after location just off the Limerick-Dublin Road and a few kilometres from Limerick City centre.
These small developments signal that there is interest in the market — luxury properties moving for more than half a million euro each seemed unlikely in recent years — but that is not all there is to report about the market in Limerick, though.
While data from the CSO illustrates the importance of existing stock in the Limerick housing market — in July, 80% of sales were existing properties, for example — there are a number of new developments reaching the market.
In mid-October, would-be buyers flocked to open viewings at Castlebrook Manor in Castletroy, just 4kms from Limerick city. The first two phases of this development comprise of some 150 homes, with prices between €285,000 and €360,000.
The same weekend, open viewings were also held for the second phase of the Mungret Gate estate, located 5kms from Limerick city. Overall, this scheme could include hundreds of homes when finished but even at this early stage, such activity is a welcome addition to the market in Limerick.
Limerick city is not unusual in the context of Irish cities; many of the issues that have emerged here are the same as those in Cork, for example. This involves a general shortage of certain types of properties, with apartments particularly problematic.
No new apartments have been completed in Limerick city in some time, leaving a significant gap in the market. Many of the newer schemes proposed fall into the purpose-built student accommodation bracket, too, though even in this regard, Limerick city is yet to see the same level of boom that has appeared in Cork city and parts of Dublin in the last 18 months or so.
However, there is demand. New developments are nearing completion and there is interest at all levels of the market. If supply can catch up with demand in the coming months, many sellers will be a lot more positive in the next year to 18 months.