Galway’s property experts share market insights and advice for first-time buyers

Sharing expert opinions on how to the housing shortage can best be solved, and advice for first-time buyers, Galway's auctioneers and estate agents give insight and advice for the local housing market.

Living and breathing property, Galway's auctioneers and estate agents are all too familiar with the ebbs and flows of the Irish residential market. With 2023 described as 'extremely strong', the growing demand for housing in the midst of short supply, has caused competition amongst buyers to heat up.

With the supply shortage playing a substantial role in the current market predicament, we asked each the auctioneers and estate agents to share their theories on easing the undersupply.

Attracting more capital

"The undersupply of homes for sale is so severe that in January, only 0.7 per cent of Co Galway's second hand stock was advertised for sale. This was exacerbated further in Galway city, where 0.5 per cent of the city's stock was for sale," said Tony Kavanagh, of Sherry FitzGerald, adding, "The delivery of new homes via streamlined planning and attraction of capital will be the only method by which we can increase our supply."

"The lack of supply of residential property coming to the market is frustrating for all market participants, but particularly potential buyers. It creates blockages in the market and stems the flow of movement for all; those wishing to trade up, trade down or move to more efficient homes."

Government funding models

"This is obviously not a quick fix solution, but the Government needs to create more opportunities for new building," said Oliva Lynch of Lynch Auctioneers. "There have been some very good new funding models introduced over the past few years to assist first-time buyers joining the housing market, however if supply is not there, the problem will only worsen."

These calls for increased Government action were similarly shared by Declan Todd of Sherry FitzGerald Todd, with the director for the Tuam based office saying, "We need developers to start building. Government needs to take action and help to kick start the process, as we have great demand for new homes both in Tuam and nationwide."

Making 'downsizing' a more attractive concept

For Auctioneer Shelagh McGann of Keane Mahony Smith, retirement communities and tax incentives for first-time buyers are two areas that may help to ease the market pressure.

"I feel that building and incentivising of downsizing and retirement communities, such as developments of two bedroom bungalows for retirees, would thus free up large homes and moving the cycle round to first-time buyers.

"Also more tax incentives for first-time buyers which do not allow construction companies to increase price points to match."

Land zoning

"O'Donnellan & Joyce strongly believe it can only be resolved through supply of new homes, and this can only be done with the supply of more zoned land coming to the market and streamlining the planning process," said Colm O'Donnellan.

"There is no quick fix, although there are signs at O'Donnellan & Joyce of an increased volume of new homes coming to the market towards the end of 2024."

Though there are a 'lot of factors', auctioneer Emily Walsh of DNG Martin O'Connor, shares similar sentiments when it comes to the topic of land zoning.

"The main factors are the fact that build costs are so high, and the planning process is unfortunately complicated and lengthy, not to mention expensive for developers. Land is available in all areas, however, it is a matter of zoning and moving out from towns and cities. Services to land are improving, especially in the Moycullen, Oughterard, and Spiddal areas.

The completion of local authority projects to bring huge boost

Outlining the 'substantial resources to housing' that Galway City Council and Galway County Council have allocated thus far, Niall Cuddy, Divisional Director of Bohermore based, Power Property, says that the completion of recently announced city centre developments by the Land Development Agency (LDA ), like the 250 units in Galway Harbour, 200 units in the Corrib Causeway development on Dyke Road and the 'ambitious' 750 plus unit project on Sandy Road, 'offers promising solutions to the housing shortage'.

"These initiatives aim to provide a diverse range of housing options including cost rental, social, and affordable housing within the city centre.

"These projects are anticipated to draw people, especially young individuals, back into the heart of the city where the majority would prefer to reside. Not only will this have a positive impact on the overall vitality of the city centre, but it will also inject vibrancy into areas that have for too long remained underutilised."

Advice for first-time buyers

As a consequence of the undersupply, demand has never been greater. For those who are entering the property market in the current landscape, lack of prior experience coupled with the turbulent and fast moving sales processes, it can be easy to be overwhelmed. With that in mind, we asked the experts what advice they would give to first-time buyers looking to secure their future homes.

Be aware of grants

"Keep your options open, and consider bringing an older property back to life with the Vacant Homes and Derelict Homes grants, and available Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI ) grants," advised Declan Todd of Sherry FitzGerald Todd. "Other support schemes include; The First Home Scheme, which includes new build, self-builds and tenancy house purchase.

"Our website now features MySherryFitz which provides complete transparency in the bidding process for buyers and vendors."

These sentiments were similarly shared by Emily Walsh of DNG Martin O'Connor, with the Moycullen based auctioneer saying, that Government grants can 'aid in the affordability of properties, and help buyers, especially first time buyers' to get on the property ladder.

"It is also important that the buyers, if purchasing with a mortgage, have a chat with their bank early on, in order to establish how much they have to spend and that they can be ready to go with their mortgage approval in principle when they are house hunting.

"In terms of location, I would always recommend that they keep an open mind into areas, as the further from the city, the better value that is available."


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