In the North Cork town of Fermoy – just as in all other towns around the country this summer - auctioneers are seeing prices rise as an increased number of buyers vie to purchase scarce properties.
“The market has gone berserk. For a property in the €150,000 to €200,000 range you can have bids from five or six mortgage-approved first time buyers who have been saving during lockdown,” says Michael Barry of Dick Barry auctioneers.
He says that prior to last year you typically had two or three bidders on a property. “We haven’t seen this type of activity since the boom – three-bed properties in this price range are selling in a week or two. It isn’t unusual now to see the same bidder being outbid on a number of different houses.” Mr Barry says that an increase in the number of people moving from the city to Fermoy has exacerbated the supply shortage in a town which has not seen any new private housing development being built since 2007.
Auctioneer Paul O’Driscoll adds that in some cases people are now paying between 10% and 15% above the guide prices.
“For a good three-bed semi in Fermoy with 1,000sq ft you would now pay €230,000 to €250,000. Before Covid it would have been around €210,000 to €215,000.” Michael O’Donovan of Sherry FitzGerald O’Donovan has seen an increase in buyers moving to the Fermoy area in order to work from home.
“A 1970s bungalow in Castleblagh Ballyhooly with a guide of €225,000 went sale agreed recently for €330,000 – most of the bidders were working in Cork city. ” He says the option to work from home has changed people's mindsets and also that, as happened in the boom, high prices in the city are driving people out to places like Rathcormac where property is more affordable.
Despite the fact that Fermoy and its environs have a population of over 6,500 in 2016, there are now just 40 properties advertised for sale in the area including some in nearby villages and some which are already sale agreed.
However, there are several proposed developments that could help alleviate the supply shortage in the town in the future.
A proposal by Cumnor Construction to build 374 houses at Coolcarron – including 224 houses and 150 apartments - is now at the pre-application consultation stage. A decision on whether the plans can proceed to the formal Strategic Housing Development planning application stage is due at the end of the month.
Michael O’Donovan of Sherry FitzGerald says there are plans for a new development of 80 houses at Strawhall. “The development has planning permission but needs a connection from Irish Water. It involves a mix of three and four-bed semis as well as four-bed detached houses and will include houses suitable for first time buyers.’’ Mr O’Donovan also says that the sale of a site in Castlelyons with planning for 28 units, (a mix of three and four-bed semis and four-bed detached houses) is currently being finalized.
Paul O’Driscoll has listed a four-acre site on the Pike Road with planning permission for 45 houses – 30 three-bed semis and 15 three-bed townhouses. He says there’s been strong interest in the site which has a guide of €2 million.
A six-bed, eight-bathroom property, it has over 5,000 sq ft of living space and all the exposed ceiling beams, red brick walls, and old-world features that you would expect and want in a traditional farmhouse.
New to the market it is listed with auctioneer Paul O’Driscoll who says that like any three-bed house in a town, experiencing a chronic housing supply shortage — it attracted a bid of the guide price.
Described by Mr Barry as well presented, the house overlooks a green area at the front and is located around 2 km from the town centre. It’s also within easy reach of the River Blackwater which is popular for boating and kayaking, activities that the current owners obviously enjoy.
A trade up option for a buyer who can’t find a property in Fermoy town, No 12 Ard N Ri in Castlelyons village is a modern four-bed detached house with a guide of €365,000.
Michael O’Donovan of Sherry FitzGerald O’Donovan says the spacious ( 1,750 sq ft) 2007-built house has been finished to a very high standard.
“Internal features include a high quality kitchen with granite worktops and integrated appliances and an Italian marble fireplace in the living room. Externally it’s on a large landscaped corner site.’’ Located 7 km from Fermoy, Ard Na Ri is within a short walk from Castlelyons village where amenities include a supermarket, a school, a playground and a GAA pitch. Mr O’Donovan says the property is just a 25-minute commute from the Jack Lynch Tunnel and could attract a buyer from the city.
VERDICT: A sizable detached modern property with oodles of space for a buyer who wants to work from home.