Reasons to be cheerful as family home hits market

THE asking price on 19 Bridgewater might be €575,000, down from last year’s levels of c €630,000 for similar sales, but it is realistic for the current market.

So says estate agent Con Nagle of Global Properties of the 1,600sq ft family home near Ballincollig, Co Cork, as he also finds reasons to be cheerful in the current housing market.

“Price growth in the residential housing sector is likely to be flat for 2008. Vendors’ expectations, in most cases, have come back in line with what can be realistically achieved in the market. This should be seen as welcome news for aspiring homebuyers. But, will they take hold of the opportunity or let it pass them by?” asks the auctioneer who has an MA in economics to bolster and, even, temper his selling skills.

“The adjustment in the market over 2006 and 2007 was a natural response to the increases in interest rates since 2005, and speculation on stamp duty. There is little change to the fundamentals that drive demand for property over the medium to long term i.e. demographics and the economy.

“Relatively low interest rates, inward migration, new jobs, improving affordability, the strong economy and the strong prospect of interest rate reductions, has stabilised the Irish housing market, he claims.

Like other agents active in the Munster market, he says there is a discernible pick-up in inquiries and sales activity over the past four weeks, with deals being done if the price is right.

“I’d reckon the average auctioneer was showing three or four houses a week in 2007. Most now have in excess of 20 property viewings a week.

“One has to go back to the heady days of 2004/5 to see so many potential buyers looking at homes. This augers well for the market and sales in the year ahead,” he claims.

On that premise, No 19 Bridgewater will fit the bill for many. Set off the Carrigrohane road and Poulavone roundabout on the Cork side of Ballincollig, it is a four-bed detached house of over 1,600 sq ft, with the bonus of an attic conversion, 18’ by 12’, to study or home office.

It has two reception rooms, master bed en suite, and at a price of €575,000 (18 months ago it might have floated towards the old 9%/€635,000 stamp duty threshold,) it will soften the buying blow for traders-up — who also may have to ‘adjust’ their expectations of their own house’s worth to make the move.

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