When you first see a ‘For Sale’ going up on a property – you wonder how much is it going for? Who will buy it? Who is moving into the area? If you live nearby, you wonder how it affects the value of your own home. But long before that sign goes up, someone has come to the decision to sell that property. There comes a time when life brings change – a new job in a new location, more space required for a growing family, or too much space to maintain. Selling your home is an anxious business. If the Atlantic around us is wild, the property market can be too.
Driving into Clonakilty, Martin Kelleher’s office stands at the prow of the town, facing into all the traffic as it comes and goes on either side. West Cork People drops in to Martin, who has 20 years’ experience selling and renting properties, to find out what is happening in the Clonakilty property market. We catch him before he heads out towards Timoleague to show a house to a couple of first-time buyers.
WCP: What’s the overall feeling in the market now?
MK: Stability has returned to the market. 2018 saw a surge in activity early in the year before that calmed again in the latter part of the year. As we go into the busiest part of this year, lower priced properties are seeing moderate price increases. The average price of a house in Clon in 2018 was 225,000 which was 10 per cent up on 2017.
WCP: Who is buying?
MK: Investors and holiday homes made up 36 per cent of our sales last year. Eleven per cent were trading up to more expensive homes; 17 per cent were trading down. First time buyers made up 36 per cent. There’s a good mix out there.
Clonakilty is a very attractive location for many kinds of buyers. With proximity to Cork City and the Airport, it’s becoming a desirable location for professionals seeking a less urban option with all the benefits of West Cork living. UK buyers returned last year. A growing trend, and a good one to see, is young professional ex-pats moving back from Europe, the UK, America or down under.
WCP: What do sellers need to know?
MK: At the moment, there are over 30 properties for sale within 10 minutes of Clonakilty. A good pricing strategy, relative to this market, is key to achieving a sale. Selling requires patience, focus and good negotiation skills. Knowing the market is key to all three. During the process, I work with them in keeping them informed on what is happening and why. Selling a property takes time. Between listing a property and selling, it can take up to six months if all goes well. Good communication with sellers is important. It’s a stressful time for any seller.
WCP: What if I have a property to rent out?
MK: As everyone knows, the rental market is tightening. Detached houses are going for €900 per month and rising, while a two-bed apartment in the town will go for over €750 a month. With over 10 per cent of all houses in the area, excluding holiday homes, empty – now is a great time for thinking about turning your empty house into a rental property. With our experience, we know how best to bring a property to the standards required and the prospective returns that landlords can expect.
WCP: What’s happening in the future?
MK: Looking to the future of the Clonakilty property market, planning permission has just been granted for 99 houses in Clogheen and there are two more developments in the planning process. Added to the planned county council developments, we should see 300 new builds coming on to the market over the next few years. This shows the strength of Clonakilty as a town and a location. It’s why the town has won so many awards – it really is one of the best places to live in Ireland. For people moving to West Cork, you’ve got to build up the picture of everything around a property – schools, shops, activities – but most importantly, it’s a town full of great community minded people.
WCP: What motivates you?
MK: With Sigrid Rose, Eilidh Lynch and myself we’ve a great team here. We love property, everything about the business and we know our area inside out. With that knowledge we achieve great results for our clients. Their next move is dependent on us. That’s a responsibility we take seriously. When our ‘Sold’ sign goes up, there’s no better feeling. Our clients are happy and someone else is moving into a new home in West Cork.
When you see that ‘Sold’ sign going up, it could be a young engineer in Dubai returning home or a couple from the city moving down here to retire. Like the Atlantic around us, there are always ebbs and flows in the property market but there are always local experts who know how to navigate them.
Martin Kelleher was one of Ireland’s first Recognised European Valuers, member of IPAV, located at Faxbridge Roundabout Clonakilty.