A move to home working during the pandemic is driving a shift in house-buying trends away from urban areas, surveyors have reported.
More people are looking for larger properties in regional locations with good broadband coverage, according to the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI).
The SCSI’s annual residential property review and outlook predicts property prices will rise by four per cent on average in 2021.
Two out of three of the 800 members surveyed by the society said they expected prices to rise in the year ahead.
They forecast a three per cent increase in the Dublin area and six per cent in Connacht and Ulster.
TJ Cronin, SCSI vice president, said coronavirus was likely to significantly disrupt the market again in 2021.
He said a lack of supply of homes was a key factor in driving up house prices.
“2020 was dominated by Covid-19 and this led to a stop, start, surge property market which only began to taper towards the end of the year,” he said.
“Agents believe Covid-19 will once again dictate activity levels in 2021 and given the recent introduction of new restrictions it’s very possible we could see a repeat of that stop, start, surge pattern in 2021.
“Sixty-two per cent of the chartered agents and auctioneers who are predicting prices will rise say it is because of the lack of supply of new and second-hand homes while 33 per cent say economic performance and the impact of Covid-19 on output will be the key drivers.
“We can see that the transition to working from home has led to a reordering of priorities and is driving interest in larger properties in regional locations with good broadband and lots of amenities as well as holiday homes in secondary locations.
“The trend away from urban areas is also reflected in the survey’s price projections, with agents in Dublin forecasting the lowest growth and agents in Connacht/Ulster the highest.
“While Covid-19 has badly affected certain sectors, it has enabled prospective buyers who work in areas which haven’t been hugely impacted, such as pharma, tech, financial and the public sector, to increase their savings.
“We’ve also seen a big inflow of Irish people returning from abroad, to Dublin in particular, and this has underpinned prices at the upper end of the market.
“In a situation where you have very limited supply — 83 per cent of agents report having low levels of stock available in Q4 — the fear of missing out on a property will very often trump the fear of paying over the odds.”