MORE than €190 million was spent on property in Clare during 2017, according to property price register figures.
In all, a total of €192,553,535.10 changed hands, well over €3.5m per week. Most of the money was spent in the second half of 2017, when transactions of €108.7m took place.
The total for the first quarter was €42,891,537.16, while it was marginally lower at €40,686,186.90 in the second quarter. In the third quarter it was substantially higher at €50,097,538.60 and rose higher again to €58,698,606.40 in the last three months of the year.
In the year as a whole, there were 1,278 transactions, giving an average value of €150,667.
The first two months of the year were relatively sluggish in comparison with what was to follow, with just over €12.5m spent in the month of January and €12.23m in February. The March figure was far higher at €18.1m.
April saw combined values of €9.36m but in May, the equivalent figure was €14.052m and in June it was €17.271m. The figures for July was €17,303,251, for August it was €17,566,962 and in September it was €15,227,325.
October was busy, with 134 transactions and a combined value of €21.8m taking place. In November, the total spend was just shy of €17.9m, while in December it was €18.976m.
More transactions took place in 2017 than in any other year since the property price register was established in 2010. The 1,278 transactions of last year compared with 1,176 in 2016 and 1,189 in 2015. As recently as 2013, just 638 were recorded, less than half the amount seen last year.
Auctioneer Liam Browne agreed it was a buoyant year for the sector. “Yes, it was. Prices are still increasing somewhat but I do expect they will stall a bit. But supply is still a big issue and if that continues, prices may increase at a faster rate.”
The lack of supply is notable in bigger urban areas, he added. “Currently, for a seller, it’s an ideal situation to be in. You should have at least three or four parties interested in a house, if it’s in a desirable location. That’s not true for all parts of Clare. It is in the main urban parts but in rural areas you wouldn’t have the same demand.”
It has made things more difficult for people looking to buy their first home, while those looking to upgrade can also find it trickier. At the moment, a house can be sold in around four weeks, whereas a few years ago it could have taken 12 weeks.
The recovery in the sector has been taking place for a while, he feels. “I suppose it started at the end of 2015. You saw increases in 2015. If memory serves me right, there was an increase of 10-12% in 2016. In 2017, that was closer to 15%. There is a possibility that it may slow down somewhat but if supply stays as it is, there is a high possibility it will increase again.”
Mr Browne says a new development in the Ennis area would tell a lot about the relative strength of the market, while he feels the availability of finance to builders is an issue. However, he thinks building new developments is becoming more sustainable.
“If prices continue to go the way they are in places like Ennis, Shannon and Sixmilebridge, we are getting to a stage where it will be economically viable to build again.”
By Owen Ryan