Busy viewing in local cottage as prices still rise

The buoyancy of the Dublin property market is evident in the 25% increase in prices experienced last year. Continued economic growth and a shortage of housing have combined to strengthen the market for sellers. The Liberty went to an open viewing at 14 Meath Square to get a Liberties perspective on property.

At a bungalow located in Meath Square, a secluded little estate just off the busy thoroughfare of Meath Street, we met estate agent Gavan Russell of who is in charge of selling the house.

“The cottage was originally a one bedroom but was split into two and rented out by the previous owner”, said Russell.  “Its location is a strong selling point. The Square is secure and quiet and has all the benefits of the area of being within walking distance of the city centre.”

Property prices in the Liberties have maintained on par with those of most of Dublin. “It’s a strong market,” said Russell. “Dublin 8 remains strong. There are no voids in the market here at all; vacancies sell quite fast to a mix of owner occupiers and people looking to rent out.”

Russell hears echoes of the past in the Liberties property market. “It’s similar to ten years ago when prices were high in the city and a lot of young professionals bought in the area. It’s happening again for the same reasons, mostly the benefits of the location.”

One of the people who came to view the Meath Square property was first time buyer Claire.

“I’m looking for somewhere to buy because I’m renting at the moment”, said Claire. Without seeming particularly enthused by this property, she nevertheless plans to keep looking in the area. “I live in the liberties and love the location but house prices have gone up.”

One wrinkle in the property market has been the Central Bank restrictions placed on first time buyers. Mortgage deposits of 20% were due to be introduced from the start of this year but the introduction of these measures has been withheld for the time being. Russell welcomes the certainty afforded to buyers.

“Because of the uncertainty we saw quite a lull at the end of the year as people waited to see how things would play out but things have picked up a lot recently. This week I’ve taken three deposits on properties and this house already has a €135,000 bid in on it,” said Russell.

A strong property market attracts investors and one of those is Andrew who also came to check out the Meath Square bungalow. “I’ve invested in lot of things but in my view a lot of assets are overpriced at the moment so I’m looking at property”, he said.

“This house would take a lot of work – the plumbing, the walls; you’d probably have to gut the place. I’m surprised that there’s a €135,000 bid on it. The Liberties has a nice old character but I think the area is a little overpriced,” explained Andrew.

It doesn’t sound like Andrew is going to take the plunge on 14 Meath Square but many will and the Liberties property market is set to remain strong.

“It won’t be as good as last year but I’d expect between 5-10% growth in the area next year,” forecasts Russell.

The Cottage on Meath Square. Credit: Conor McNally

The Cottage on Meath Square. Credit: Conor McNally

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