'Prices have gone crazy' say house-hunters as 5 homes snapped up in an afternoon
The appetite for new homes in Dublin was clearly evident when all five houses in a small development in Leopardstown were snapped up immediately.
The five properties at Glencairn View in The Gallops, Dublin 18, with prices starting at €480,000, are the first new homes to go on the market in the area for some time.
They attracted a mix of downsizers and young families in search of their first home at last weekend's viewings. All reported that they are finding the market very competitive.
Retiree Madeleine Edwards sold her home in Blackrock and is looking for something more manageable near to her sons who accompanied her to the viewing.
"I didn't know the market was going to pick up - I didn't want it to pick up. I sold well but it is escalating, I will just have to take my time and be patient," she said, adding that she would have some concerns about a bubble developing.
"We suffered before and I hope that we have learned our lesson and it doesn't go the same way again," she said. Indeed, son Paul Edwards said that they have been encountering "huge queues" at viewings.
"There is definitely a sense of 'we need to put an offer in'. We put an offer in on a house not too far from here on a Saturday and it had already gone €40,000 over asking price and by the Monday it had sold for €90,000 over asking price," he said.
Retired couple David and Pamela Jones are also looking to move from their current home in Greystones to be closer to family.
"We have been looking quite long indeed, but prices are rising so rapidly it is like the stock market, particularly in south county Dublin.
"I do feel a sense of panic but it is coming from the media. The Government have got to control this panic. What should happen is that unfinished houses should be finished and sites developed, particularly that NAMA hold," Mr Jones said.
"My genuine fear is for young people trying to get on this ladder. It is very, very hard for them."
Among the first time buyers was travel agent Ibrahim Alkaddo who is looking for a home for his young family. Having lived in the area for the last 17 years, he is keen to stay there but finding new homes on the market has been difficult.
"There are quite a few places that need a lot of work but in terms of new-build, this is the first that I have seen," he said.
He was sceptical about the idea of a bubble.
"People are buying, there are queues out there and there is cash in the market," he said.
Educationalist Ann Aherne and auctioneer husband Paul, accompanied for the viewing by daughter Evie (2) and seven-week-old Louis, have experienced both sides of the property crash.
His apartment, bought at the height of the boom, remains in negative equity but, luckily, she bought and sold post-crash. Renting at the moment, they have been looking for a family home for two years and are becoming wary of prices.
"Prices have gone mad. We have been looking for a while now. What we could have afforded two years ago, the banks were not giving but everything has just gone up," she said. "On the bank side it is looking up but on the price side it has gone mad. We will probably just stay where we are until there is more on the market and prices start to mellow out or become a bit more realistic".
Agents Savills reported that by the end of the viewing, booking deposits had been secured on all five houses, which are at the front of a well-established family estate and 20-second walk from the Glencairn Luas stop.
"We knew the demand was there," said David Browne, head of Savills New Homes. "A lot of people looking at them are renting and paying €1,800-a-month for a smaller, older house or €1,400 for an apartment and they are saying it is not sustainable. The problem here is that we have only got five of them.
"In an ideal world we would have another 50 behind it. What the market wants is obviously a lot more than that and we simply don't have it."
Mr Browne said that buyers are now well-informed before they make a purchase with Savills talking to them weeks ahead of the viewing so there were no surprises on the day. Although it is a competitive market, nobody is making off the cuff decisions.