Tramore property market moving in right direction

Barry Herterich of Tramore-based Property Partners. "The last six months of 2014 were excellent."  The improvement in Tramore’s property market is ongoing, and given that an extensive range of commercial property has also changed hands locally, it appears that talk of better days ahead in the town is not entirely misplaced.

Speaking to The Munster Express, auctioneer Barry Herterich of Property Partners (Main Street, Tramore), said the market which had “steadily picked up since mid-2013″ had ramped up to produce an “excellent last six months of 2014″.

According to Mr Herterich: “In terms of transactions, things have really improved since last July…and on the back of that we saw some price increases as well, which was largely down to the lack of supply in certain house categories, particularly at the lower end, by that I mean below €200,000″.

He added: “Added to that, there was the holiday home situation; a lot of those properties were sold in the middle of the recession, particularly after the banking crisis. A lot of retired people took their money out of the banks and wanted to put it into bricks and mortar; they bought a lot of holiday homes here. And then about a year ago, we noticed that there began to be a shortage of them (for sale) so prices went up.”

At present, particularly among first time buyers, four-bed semi-detached houses are proving popular, said Barry Herterich.

“We’ve probably seen a price increase in those houses over the past year from between €135,000 to €140,000 up to between €175,000 to €180,000…and what’s driving the price increase is the shortage of houses,” he stated.

According to a report issued by GeoDirectory last week, 1,065 residential housing transactions were recorded in Waterford during 2014, accounting for two per cent of the total national housing stock.

And while the national average price paid for a house in Ireland last year came to €213,947, the report revealed that the average sold property in Waterford fetched €126,265.

Incidentally, the lowest average price was recorded in County Longford (€74,154) while, unsurprisingly, Dublin topped the table with an average sale price of €343,672 in 2014.

With those figures in mind, Barry Herterich said the deposit level recommendations set in place by the Central Bank wouldn’t negatively affect first time buyers in Waterford to an enormous extent.

“The mortgage restrictions in terms of deposits won’t really affect first time buyers in Waterford because the majority of those will be buying properties costing €220,000 or less; and the 20 per cent (deposit requirement) only kicks in above €220,000. But it will present issues for ‘trader-uppers’ as a lot of them wouldn’t have either profit or equity in their house when they go to sell.

“For example, if you’re looking to move from a €200,000 house into a €300,000, you’re going to have to have €60,000 as a deposit – and you probably won’t have a lot of profit in your house if you’ve bought it in the last 10 years; that profit would be largely reliant on what you’ve paid off on your mortgage in due course, and that’s going to be an issue throughout the country and not just in Waterford.”

While Noel Frisby Construction has commenced works on a second phase of houses at Foxwood (Six Cross Roads, Waterford), Barry Herterich believes costs at present are too prohibitive for developers to considering turning any sod in Tramore.

“It’s just too costly to build at the moment compared to what you’d get for a new house…the taxes involved with selling a property for a developer, the VAT, the Part V social and affordable requirement, and then you’ve got the new, high development charges from the Council along with the new building regulations which came in last year, which are apparently adding between €10,000 and €18,000 onto the cost of a build.

“So it seems to be that one of the reasons developers aren’t building is because it’s just too costly to build, but the best person to ask about this would be a builder, to be fair.”

On the commercial front, a significant level of high-profile sales in the past year or more suggests significant confidence among those respective buyers regarding Tramore’s future prospects.

“People wouldn’t be buying commercial property unless they thought they couldn’t run a profitable business in Tramore. I mean in the last 18 months alone I have sold The Sands Hotel, The Hi-B Hotel, the Pine Rooms restaurant, the two arcades, Power’s Bar, the Cove off-licence and the (St) Ledger Bar is under offer…so things clearly appear to be moving in the right direction, it has to be said.”

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