THE East Clare property market could be on the way back up with one local auctioneer recording more sales in the first half of this year than in the previous three-year period.
John Tuohy of Brian Tuohy Auctioneering is currently seeking out properties and land to sell, due to demand following four property sales in Mountshannon in the last few weeks. Although he says it is a stretch to say there is “a boom” in the housing market in East Clare, he says there are half a dozen property prospectors waiting in the wings for the right opportunity to present itself in the region.
“We have at least a half dozen people with money in hand looking for suitable properties,” he said. Half a dozen may sound small, he added, but to get six people who aren’t subject to finance and haven’t to sell a property in order to buy” is unusual”.
The auctioneering company has a portfolio in East Clare, and parts of East Galway including Woodford, Ballinakill, parts of Loughrea and Portumna. Mr Tuohy said they have also done well in Scariff, having sold a number of properties there recently. But he added that they are not seeing uptake in East Galway to the same extent as East Clare.
“I suppose people see prices are realistic. Up to a few years ago, for anything around Mountshannon you were talking mega money really. It always attracted foreign clientele. It is an attractive area to live in and all you have to do is drive around on any bank holiday weekend and you’ll see the different registration numbers,” he said.
He explained that in the boom times, they sold a lot of land for development for huge sums, that will now most likely never be developed on.
“We had an awful lot of development land sold in the boom time. We had a site sold for €2 million that will never be developed. We had another sold for €650,000 in Whitegate that won’t be built on, and we had one sold in Mountshannon for around €550,000, all of which won’t be developed. While it has always been an attractive area for people and we continuously get enquiries, now prices are realistic. Nothing is being sold on for development purposes and no sites are trading really,” he said.
Mr Tuohy said he feels the housing stock is poor in the locality and they are now seeking out properties to add to their portfolio. The types of clientele they get vary from those looking for permanent homes, to those looking for a holiday home. All of those seeking properties in the locality are Irish, according to Mr Tuohy. He said, “Foreign investment is minimal”.
In the past number of weeks, the auctioneers have sold four properties, which he said had a quick turnaround of between six to eight weeks.
“Of the four, three would have been rented properties owned by people who bought them as investment properties They are now going to be occupied permanently,” he said.
John’s business partner, Noel Hogan commented that the demand in their catchment area seems to primarily have picked up in Mountshannon.
“There’s a little bit more demand for anything that is offered at a reasonable price. There is still a lot of property on the market at unreasonable prices and they are not likely to sell in the near future. We have seen in the Mountshannon area, in particular, there is a little more demand now. It is certainly positive news. I’m not saying if we had 100 houses tomorrow that we could sell them, but we could probably sell half a dozen houses in the area if we got them at reasonable prices,” Mr Hogan concluded.