The price of the average second-hand three-bed semi in county Waterford has increased by 1.4% to €185,000 in the last three months, according to a national survey by Real Estate Alliance.

The market in Waterford city was steady this quarter, with prices currently at €230,000, a 7% increase since this time last year, the Q1 REA Average House Price Index shows.

“We are seeing house prices holding firm for Q1 2021, with strong demand from all price sectors,” said Des O’Shea of REA O’Shea O’Toole, Waterford city.

“A shortage of stock is driving prices upwards, and we have waiting lists of potential purchasers when restrictions are lifted. 

“We anticipate that prices will continue to rise when restrictions on viewings are lifted.”

Across the county, the average time taken to sell has reflected a national trend and fallen to eight weeks from nine between December and March. Time to sell in the city was unchanged this quarter at eight weeks.

“The biggest current change in trends is that the investor and second-home purchaser have recently become more prevalent,” said Eamonn Spratt of REA Spratt, Dungarvan.

“Investor-driven sales have increased by reason of strengthened rents giving a stronger return in tandem to minimal returns on savings.

“The second-home buyer has been influenced by Covid-19 driving the idea of staycations and the draw of having a coastal property within easy commute of the larger centres.”

Nationally, average house prices rose by almost 2% over the past three months, despite the absence of physical viewing, in a marketplace which is seeing the lowest supply and the shortest time taken to sell in recent history.

The REA Average House Price Survey concentrates on the actual sale price of Ireland's typical stock home, the three-bed semi, giving an accurate picture of the second-hand property market in towns and cities countrywide.

The price of a three-bedroomed semi-detached house across the country rose by almost €4,500 over the past three months to €243,603 – representing an annual increase of 3.6%.

The average three bed semi is now reaching sale agreed after just five weeks on the market across the country – almost half the nine-week average this time last year.

Not having to schedule appointments has led to potential buyers making swift bidding decisions on the back of virtual viewings, speeding up the selling process according to REA.

The biggest rises in Q1 came in commuter counties as buyers move out further from the city in preparation for long-term hybrid working situations.

Dublin city experienced its biggest quarterly rise in over three years as the price of a three-bedroomed semi-detached house rose by 1.5% to €438,500 during the past 12 weeks.

This represents an annual increase of 2.7% and means that the average Dublin three bed semi has now recovered to its December 2017 price level after a period of decreases, mainly in 2019.

Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford cities shared a combined increase of 1.2% in the past 12 weeks with prices rising by €3,000 to an average of €265,625.

Three bed semis in commuter counties rose 2.3% by almost €6,000 in the past three months to an average of €258,889 – with the average home selling in four weeks – down from a high of 11 a year ago.

As the flight to rural locations continues, prices in the rest of the country’s towns rose by over 2% in Q1 to €168,828.