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Property prices expected to hold strong in Clare

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OPPORTUNISTIC house hunters and investors looking to swoop for a post-Covid deal will be sorely disappointed, it appears, with high levels of demand driving continued price stability in the property market in County Clare.

A leading auctioneer predicts that there will be no signs of dropping prices across County Clare’s property market following the fall-out from Covid-19’s impact on the local economy. Speaking to The Clare Echo, Cormac O’Sullivan of DNG O’Sullivan Hurley said that the level of enquiries his Ennis-based team is currently having to process indicates that the biggest issue facing the industry continues to be a lack of housing stock.

The agent explained that throughout the lockdown period, DNG O’Sullivan Hurley did not go one week without selling at least two houses, including one bumper week in which the firm sold a house every day of the week.

A recent report from the ESRI (Economic & Social Research Institute) predicted a 12 per cent fall in house prices over the coming 18 months however Mr O’Sullivan insists that that despite initial concerns, it does not appear like this will now materialise. He conceded that between 10-15 per cent of sale agreed deals fell through due to potential buyers’ personal circumstances being affected by Covid, however in most cases other buyers were on hand to complete the failed deals.

“The level of enquiries coming in on each property that is for sale is still quite high and that’s instilling confidence in us that perhaps this will not have the impact that some reports had in terms of high percentage falls and that comes down to supply and demand,” said Mr O’Sullivan, who is in business partnership with Douglas Hurley at DNG in Ennis.

“We went into Covid where it was known on the open market there was a shortage of supply. We come out of this with the same problem. Prior to Covid, we saw the end price exceed the asking price by 5-10 per cent. You might not see that in some cases going forward, but I think the guide price will probably stay the same. Your typical three-bedroom semi in Ennis is typically at €195-200k, still less than cost to build a new house. The prices in Clare were still in recovery from the recession we had previously gone through so we won’t probably see guide prices fall in any amount going forward.”

Cormac admits that while as a nation we are “hitting into unknown territory”, the fall-out will not be comparable to the last economic downturn 10 years ago. “The last recession was financially driven so the major industries affected were the likes of development, auctioneering practices, financial services and indeed the banking sector who were highly exposed to significant debt. That debt had all been restructured, the assets all sold on, so you don’t have that going into this recession. This isn’t a property driven or indeed financial driven recession as such. Whenever we see something going down, one of the first things we start talking about is ‘how much will houses fall by?’ and how difficult will it be going forward from a banking point of view. The banks are open for business [this time]”.

As the property market begins to fully reopen this week, Mr O’Sullivan is advising potential sellers to continue their course in getting their property to the market. “We’re finding any property we valued pre-Covid, we have now prepared it to go to the market and they’re returning at the same price we had valued them pre-lockdown. Because the level of enquiries we’re seeing coming in – one property in Ennis has had over 50 requests for viewings, that’s phenomenal and it shows the volume of people still looking – there’s no house up for sale where there’s not in excess of five requests for viewing on our return. So I’m encouraging vendors to get their property up for sale because from where we’re sitting, clearly the demand is still there in a market that was undersupplied.”

For any property enquiries, contact DNG O’Sullivan Hurley on 065 6840200 or email info@dngosullivanhurley.com.

Stuart Holly is the editor and co-founder of The Clare Echo. A native of Ennis, Stuart studied at St Flannan's College before obtaining a journalism degree in Dublin. After interning at The Evening Herald, he landed his first job with The Irish Daily Mail, Stuart worked in newspaper production with the Independent Group and in Auckland, New Zealand before a lengthy spell as a pun-spewing sub-editor at the Irish Daily Star. In 2015, Stuart returned to The Banner County where he took up employment as a news reporter with The Clare People.

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