Property prices are growing in all markets in Cork county but the rates of inflation are varying widely. It is a simple case of employment proximity: the closer to Cork City, the sharper the growth.
Commuter towns in the immediate city area are witnessing growth of more than €100,000 in the last five years but further out, particularly in the very west and north of the county, inflation is less than half that of these areas.
Asking prices in Cork City are increasing at a rapid rate, pricing many out. This trend has crept into county towns, too, with Ballincollig, Glanmire and Carrigaline all seeing rapid increases.
As such, buyers are being forced further and further out, a situation which is resulting in lengthy commutes for many who work in the city or the adjacent areas, such as Ringaskiddy.
Areas like Watergrasshill, Blarney and Tower are in high demand, with each area increasing by approximately €85,000 in the last five years. Average prices in Watergrasshill are now at €248,956, their highest in a decade.
They haven’t quite recovered to the highs of 2007, though, when they reached at €379,324.
In Blarney and Tower, prices have increased by 47% since 2013 and are averaging €267,033. At its peak, property in Blarney had an average asking price of more than €400,000.
Beyond these, there are few areas where a seller could expect to get something in the region of €300,000 last year but Ovens was one such area.
At €307,633, the village was one of the most expensive places to buy in the entire county. Prices have increased by €95,000 in the last five years.
Just four areas in Cork City – Douglas, Rochestown, Blackrock and Bishopstown/Wilton – were more expensive than Ovens, with just Kinsale in the county having a higher premium.
And, prices in Kinsale are showing no sign of slowing down either. The CSO’s residential property price index regularly ranks Kinsale as the most expensive place to buy outside the greater Dublin region.
Since 2013, asking prices in Kinsale have increased by €142,000 and are now at €375,478 on average. There is still quite a way to go to return to highs of 2007 when prices passed the €500,000 mark.
Kinsale was the only area in Cork to move above this threshold for average pricing, according to Daft.ie.
In many other areas, price growth is more modest, though.
In Cobh and Midleton, attractive areas due to their rail connections direct to Cork City, prices have grown by €66,659 and €75,190, respectively, with prices remaining about €100,000 below their Celtic Tiger peak. In Cobh, buyers are being asked for an average of €214,000, with new developments being pitched above this mark. In Midleton, it is €216,000.
Also on the rail network, Mallow has seen steady growth but prices remained about €10,000 cheaper than those in Cobh or Midleton last year.
Asking prices hit €195,000 last year and are almost certain to pass the €200,000 mark this year. Further from the city, price growth is a little slower.
Areas like Bandon and Clonakilty are showing strong growth, with prices increasing by more than €70,000 in the last five years, but these figures drop off in other areas.
In Skibbereen, prices have increased by €65,000, on average, but the Rosscarbery and Baltimore area has seen prices grow by just 18% - less than €40,000 – since 2013. In 2007, prices were averaging €450,000 and are now less than €250,000. Just Youghal and Charleville in the entire county have a bigger difference in their prices in 2006 and 2018.
Ronan Lyons, economist at Trinity College Dublin, said that the ‘city premium’ is driving prices in Cork.
“Access to employment is key,” he said.
“Geographic proximity to jobs helps but so does being close to public transport access, motorways. As is clear in Cork, commuter towns are doing very well as a result of this.”
He said that people are willing to travel further to get more bang for their buck.
“€250,000 will get you a lot more in the county in comparison to the city,” he said. “People are essentially paying the difference in fuel – and time on their commute.”