Donal Keenan of Keenan Auctioneers.

Energy rating key factor for new buyers

REVIEW Demand still outstripping supply despite rise in interest rates - Keenan Auctioneers

After a busy 2023, when supply often outstripped demand, Kingscourt-based auctioneer Donal Keenan says that a good energy rating is among the most important considerations for prospective buyers when it comes to choosing a new home.

“Supply remains tight for both second-hand and new homes in 2023. There is plenty of demand for homes, especially those that are in good condition with a good energy rating of B3 and above, but getting them is a challenge,” says Donal of Keenan Auctioneers.

The auctioneer says that there are still not enough houses being built to satisfy demand. “If there were new homes built, they would sell quickly, especially given the incentives for first-time buyers,” believes Mr Keenan.

“The area is crying out for them, but there appear to be very few at the minute. From our own experience in the last quarter, things began to cool off due to interest rate rises over the last few years, he added.

While demand slowed somewhat towards the latter part of the year, Mr Keenan anticipates this will soon pick up again.

“When the last lockdown lifted in 2021, things began to heat up and remained that way until this year but increases in rates have cooled things off.

“There was talk of a cut [interest rates] in the first quarter of 2024 but that appears to be moved out to the middle of the year. I think it will help the situation and bring more heat into the market. Buyers with a mortgage will have more money to spend and will be enticed to spend it. It will see supply pick up again,” he said.

Despite interest rates curbing demand somewhat, Donal says that quality houses are still being snapped up quickly, with the drop in demand being experienced mainly in older homes.

“We put a three-bed semi-detached house in Kingscourt that had a guide price of €250,000 but it sold within two weeks at 15% above the guide price. If the right house is there in good enough condition, it will sell.

“Homes with a B3 rating are more fuel-efficient and the buyer gets a better mortgage rate with a better rating so it’s beneficial. An older house from the 70s with an F or G rating is taking longer to sell. People know they have to either spend a lot of money putting in insulation or have high energy bills, and the mortgage rates aren’t as good,” concluded Mr Keenan.