Nenagh needs 150 houses per year

Sinn Féin ‘policies don’t add up’ - local property briefing hears

A presentation in Nenagh on the national property market last week heard that more than 52,000 new houses must be built each year in order to meet current demand.

Hosted by the Sherry Fitzgerald offices of Thurles, Cashel and Nenagh, those present at the briefing were told that only a fraction of the new housing required to meet the expansion of local industry in Nenagh is being built. The view of local selling agent Sherry FitzGerald Talbot was that approximately 150 new homes need to be built in Nenagh on an annual basis; currently there is less than 20% of that being constructed.

Roseanne De Vere Hunt, Director of Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes & Estate, addressed those gathered at the Abbey Court Hotel about the country homes and estate market in Ireland. She spoke of SFT's partnership with Christies International Real Estate in terms of attracting US buyers to the Irish market.

There has been a lot of US interest in Irish property over the last six months. This has involved both ex-pats and US buyers looking to buy in this part of the world. They bring big spending power, especially where large country estates are concerned, and Lough Derg locations are in high demand.

Ms De Vere Hunt mentioned several country homes and estates across the country where sales were agreed through Sherry FitzGerald. Among them was Slevoir House, Terryglass, which went on the market with an asking price of €2.95 million and fetched in excess of that amount after two bidders went head to head for the property. Another Lough Derg example was Derrymount at Derrycastle, Ballina, which appeared on the market with an asking price of €1.4 million and was purchased as a second home.

Ms De Vere Hunt also spoke of land acquistions and how an increasing number of buyers are acquiring land as an investment, rather than for agricultural purposes. Land value has been steadily on the increase and one acre is valued at around €11,630 now, she said.

Marian Finnegan, Chief Economist & Managing Director of Sherry FitzGerald Residential & Advisory, provided a comprehensive overview of the current property market landscape and shared her insights into the short to medium-term market outlook. She said that in spite of such problems as the pandemic, ongoing war in Ukraine and inflation, Ireland's residential market is stable.

Ms Finnegan spoke of how in 2015, Sherry FitzGerald established a need to build 35,000 houses per annum in order to meet demand (the 2016 Rebuilding Ireland construction programme targetted 25,000 homes per year year to 2020). But only around 10,000 houses have been coming to market for sale each year since, leading to a situation where Sherry FitzGerald now estimates that 52,600 houses per year are required to meet the needs of the present population and tackle such issues as adults living with their parents because they cannot buy or rent a house. While she welcomed government measures for first-time buyers and the reduction of development levies, Ms Finnegan described these as “baby steps” on the road towards addressing Ireland's housing crisis. She said the government must do more to incentivise developers and that the VAT reduction, which Sherry Fitzgerald called for 10 years ago, must be brought into play to kickstart construction.

As things stand, houses are being built in Tipperary in the hundreds when they need to be in the “thousands”, Ms Finnegan said. Rural Ireland is now driving the property market, as opposed to Dublin, and rural counties are seeing the biggest price rises - up 7% for a second-hand home in Tipperary over the last year. But 79% of house buyers are owner-occupiers with just 13% buying as an investment. This latter number would in the recent past have been more like 25% and the investors would make their accommodation available for people to rent. Now, one in three vendors are investors leaving the market.

Asked by a member of the attendance about what a Sinn Féin-led government would mean for the housing crisis, Ms Finnegan was of the view that the party could come to power but said its “policies don't add up”. If they did, the State would have rolled them out by now, she reasoned, adding that “it's very easy to shout from the sidelines”.