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The part Kenny show on news talk with Marter private network during current restrictions. Don't ignore your health concerns. Our expert team is ready to help. Now, every headline you read about the Irish property market points to a lack of supply and stubbornly high prices, but what is the business of selling and renting houses like in the current climate?


To tell us where we are now in the sector? I'm joined by real estate agent Owen Riley.


Owen, good morning. Good morning now. First of all, in terms of the number of transactions, in terms of buying and selling, how does it compare to the pre covid period?


Well, a feature of the market last year was the lack of transactions, a number of transactions was was down about 28 percent. And to give you just some data from the property partners from last month, particularly my home state, there was fifteen thousand five hundred homes for sale in Ireland at the end of January. That's 24 percent less or four thousand eight hundred and fifty less properties for sale for the same period last year. And since we went into this Level five lock down after Christmas, the number of properties coming onto the market is just depletions.


But that's obviously very understandable, given right now there are restriction on viewings and many vendors are quite simply not comfortable putting their property on the market at the moment, given the covid numbers.


So some people have to sell and they will put it on the market. They might be in one of these chain reactions in your business, you know, where you got to sell because you've already committed to buying something and so on and so forth.


But you're active in the Docklands area. Your agency is very active there. How have the prices held up or not?


Well, covid has, as has hit, different ends of the market very differently. It would be fair to say the city centre in Docklands apartment market has been hit hard by covid and values did fall a little bit there last year. But if you compare that to the suburban housing market, it's been quite hush, underpinned by a lack of supply and values are up, albeit marginally, but probably up one to two percent last year. And at the upper end of the market, some extraordinary prices were achieved last year where a lot of Irish people are returning home.


What we've also seen some trends where Narnia's technology executives who are living in a number of years are now looking to buy instead of rent. So covid has impacted the market in different ways, uncertain the impact of different property types in different locations. Hmm.


Now, if I was an executive working for Salesforce or Zendesk or any of these companies and I had been renting, obviously I'd be familiar with the rental market and I might be very happy to buy online because I'm familiar with the properties and I'm familiar with the the blocks and so on. So so that's one side of the market. But is there a reluctance to rent or buy without actually having boots on the ground in the home?


OK, well, virtual buying has been a feature of the market for quite some time, but but a very, very nice end to the market, typically it was with investors or with second home buyers. So, for example, a few years ago, we sold a penthouse to an Auckland based buyer who relied completely on a virtual reality walk to return a video. But they were only buying a second home, you'll recall, at the auctions after the last crash where properties were being sold at Rock-bottom prices, a number of investors bought properties, but I'd seen them because they were attracted so much by the value.


However, you mentioned there earlier are people who have to buy. There are a cohort of people who have to buy. They've and the market is very active. Up until Christmas last year, there was a huge pickup in transactions towards the end of the year and people are in our contract and signed contracts and are obliged to move on. So they're trading up. They're trading down. We've got people overseas who want to buy a property here because they're Irish and they're going to return from places like Australia, America.


There's other people. For example, we've a gentleman in Paris, he's a daughter. And Trinity, she's gone back, but she's coming back in the summer to start second year in Trinity. And he wants to buy an apartment and he's prepared to buy at virtually one big difference between now and, say, ten years is that technology has moved on. And so I mentioned earlier, Vaughters, we're using those about three years so that they give a kind of an immersive experience.


So where the perception that you're physically in a virtual world with 360 watchers and those supplemented with video tours are very useful.


So I would advise anyone who hasn't looked at these to go on your website and see how it's done.


I mean, you get what's called a doll's house view of the whole place, which is not like it's not drawn by a computer programme. It is based on the actual imagery captured by special camera in the place. And then you can click on your mouse and you can bring yourself through every single room.


You see people's photographs, their own on the wall. I mean, it's that exact. And you can also measure the dimensions using a tool that's available on this device. It's incredibly clever.


It is, and you get the perception that you're there yourself. Yes, absolutely. You feel you can walk down a corridor or you can turn into a bathroom, you can turn into a kitchen, you can go out on, you know, to the back garden if there is one or onto the balcony if there is one.


It's it really is very persuasive.


No, it doesn't tell you, nor could any app like this ever tell you about the quality, you know, everything. And my father used to say putty and paint make the carpenter a saint. So I don't think this guy's quality. Yes.


And I think it's also nicer with a video wall to tear apart where you can open up cupboards and have a closer look at interior finishes. And I think it's very important. The seller is it's a front about any finishing works that are required. But there's a couple of things I would say. I suppose buyers and sellers were waiting for a loft end to end on the 5th of March. That's no, not happening. It's extended to April with the possibility of later on.


What we're now seeing part is at a pure necessity. Owner occupiers are now buying virtually. And so the process really is you make an enquiry, you understand this own.


Here's the question, though. There are people who say, unless I put my feet inside the door, unless I can physically open a cupboard rather than even have you as an estate agent, walk through and do a live video showing what you can do as well.


Unless I'm there myself, unless I get the smell of the place, you know, feel the place, I won't buy a WHO says he's an estate agent. He says no one in their right mind would buy a house without seeing it. I'm having stood inside the house, but it gives rise to a question if you now have to get sale. Agreed before you physically get inside the house. And we talked about this on the programme a couple weeks ago.


Could you get your deposit back if you don't like what you see when you finally get inside the door?


Before you signed, the contract has yet to give sale, agreed, so you haven't signed the contract. You can always walk away, I presume, at that point. Absolutely.


So how we're conducting business, there are a cohort of buyers who are going to buy virtually and you could use the word remotely. So they're not in Dublin, they're not in Ireland, and they are going to proceed because they need to buy for various reasons. Now, in terms of owner occupiers who are in Dublin, it is possible to physically view the property after egotistically, but before the contract issues. Under the guidelines, we have some DHC. So if a physical visit is required and of course the vast majority of people will need to will need a physical visit, that would still be possible.




And, you know, you might want to get your surveyor into a house, particularly an older house. You know, do you do things subject to surveyors approval?


Absolutely so sale is always subject to contract, subject to survey, and the unwritten one part is subject to changing your mind. Absolutely. And those visits by surveyors and buyers are deemed essential visits. And so we would be able to accommodate those visits.


OK, a question from a remark from Sean in Galway, one of our news listeners. I've been trying to rent my apartment in Dublin since May of last year. It's in good condition. I've dropped the price by 30 percent and still cannot rent it. Demand has fallen off a cliff.


Is that the case on? Yes, there is this demand for an 11th five lockdown, and I'm surprised to hear it's on the market that long properties are taking longer to rent and interestingly pass. About a third of our tenants are renting virtually no physical visit required. Obviously, it's a different undertaking. You're just going to rent the property for a year. I would suggest you should get a voter on his property. OK, look, I mean, it's a very interesting time in the property market, hopefully by April things will revert to some kind of normality, even the reality of last year, which still wasn't normal, but own for the moment.


Thank you very much for joining us. That's real estate agent Owen Riley.