With its sandy beaches, broadband accessibility and proximity to the motorway, it is no surprise that Jim Kinsella of Sherry Fitzgerald O’Leary Kinsella, was met with a wall of enquiries from people looking to relocate to Wexford after the first lockdown in 2020.
Jim, who comes from a farming background in north Wexford, recalls 2020 starting like any other year. “The property market had just pulled itself back from the depts of the recession and was performing nicely, then along came COVID-19 which brought the country to a standstill.
“It was a very uncertain. For a few months between March and May, we didn’t know where the property market was going to go. We didn’t know if there was going to be any demand for properties. It was really unchartered waters, everything stood still during the first lockdown. There was a lot of soul searching and we didn’t know what was going to be the outcome.”
It wasn’t long until the drought in the market was relinquished, however.
“We noticed a trend, after a month or so into the lockdown, our phones were starting to get busier and our email enquiries were getting busier from people who were couped up in Dublin and various cities, trying to work from home, maybe with a couple of kids, maybe in a property with no garden.
“We realised that there was a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. We thought, ‘Maybe after this lockdown that there might be some extra demand for people who wanted to get out of the city – who were trying to work from home during the pandemic’, and that is exactly what happened,” Jim explains.
Through the beauty of virtual viewings, the property market was turned on its head.
“We employed some new technology that Sherry Fitzgerad had, the virtual tours were brilliant. It allowed people to do a full viewing, we have sold some properties to people during the first lockdown who hadn’t stood inside the door.
“Literally the experience of a proper virtual tour is on a par with a viewing – providing that a virtual tour is set up and done correctly, it is literally like standing in the property. We had agreed sales with people, their contracts were ready to be signed and they just done their physical viewing then just before the signed their contracts.”
Supply and demand
The third lockdown of COVID-19 has put a halt to properties coming onto the market, which leaves the demand for properties, outweighing the supply.
“I don’t care whether you are selling barley or cattle, houses or anything else. Supply and demand dictates price.
“We have a situation now where the demand is so high, with a lack of supply – and a lack of supply is compounded by the third wave of COVID because people are very reluctant to put properties on the market. So a lot of vendors who would have normally been on the market now, have postponed their decision to sell until after this third wave,” Jim tells Irish Country Living.
Outlook for 2021
Although it is very hard to gaze into a crystal ball, Jim has high hopes for the property market in 2021.
“Once we see some light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic, people will start putting their properties on the market. I think the prices will hold fairly well, I don’t think prices are going to increase dramatically later in the year, I think that they are increasing at the minute and they will steady off and hold at that level, but it is very difficult to know.”
Jim advises anyone on the hunt for a property in 2021 to secure their funds and decide on a location before they begin their search.
First time buyers can also avail of the ‘Help to Buy Scheme’ which allows you to avail of up to €30,000. The scheme can be applied for through the revenue on www.revenue.ie.
“As soon as the level 5 restrictions are lifted, more property will come to the market. People do want to go on with their lives and trade up or trade down, do whatever they are going to do, relocate and you will find a lot of property will come to the market after level 5 restrictions have been lifted.”
“Buyers will be starting their property search about now, I think the third lockdown is reaffirming people’s choice to go and buy a property. If you are on the market after the restrictions have lifted, I think that it would be the appropriate time.”
Jim’s advice to people thinking of selling their property would be:
You can find out more about the Wexford property market at www.sherryfitz.ie/branch/gorey.