At the beginning of the pandemic, with restrictions and uncertainty, one Armagh estate agent took the decision to go it alone.
To many onlookers it most certainly would have looked like an odd choice, but Ryan Molloy, the man behind Redian Real Estate, has been more than pleased with his first year in business.
The now 30-year-old, 2015 Young Agent of the Year finalist, made the decision to go out on his own having worked as Branch Manager of a local estate agency in the city for the previous seven years.
Speaking to Armagh I at the time, Ryan said: “I had been thinking about opening my own estate agents for a couple of years now and then I just decided to bite the bullet.”
Now, one year on many will be more than familiar with the eye-catching baby blue sale signs around the city and we took the opportunity to catch up with Ryan to see how the first 12 months have been.
He admitted that in the beginning there was a bit a trepidation, with no one really knowing how the lockdown, the pandemic and restrictions were going to affect the market.
“Everything actually stopped when we went into the first full lockdown,” he said. “We didn’t know if that was going to continue. We didn’t know if people were going to get their jobs back and there was just so much unknown.
“But it really did just take off. The first three or four months for me were just absolutely crazy and it has kept busy throughout the last 12 months.”
Last year, Ryan had told of how, in the residential market, the demand far outweighed the supply, and this has continued to be a theme according, he reports, which has led to a rise in property prices.
He said: “There’s no question about it, some properties are getting well above their asking prices simply because there is nothing else for people to bid on.
“But I think once there are more properties coming onto the market, when there are more options, that will change. I don’t think there will be a fall, so much as a correction of the prices.”
Explaining this demand, Ryan said that the pandemic and in particular the restrictions have had a massive impact.
“People were not booking the holidays or eating out, the normal day to day activities, so they were able to save a deposit to put down on a house when lockdown did lift,” he said.
However, it has not all been plain sailing for first time buyers, Ryan confided.
“Developers have had to increase sale prices on new builds making lending affordability more difficult for first time buyers”.
“That is in part because the price of materials has increased dramatically over the past number of months. However, this has not seemed to have a negative impact on sales.
According to Ryan, there has also been a shortage on private rentals on the market which had led to investors battling it out with the would be first time buyers.
“There is such a demand for rental, I would have a list 200 or 300 long filled with tenants looking a rental. This has meant that many landlords are able to push up rent prices which makes it a more appealing investment.”
The property management side of Ryan’s business has also grown as a result and he wishes to thank all of those who have placed their trust in him.
Meanwhile, on the commercial side, he admitted that this has started slowly, with many in fear of opening up a new business, but this had changed in recent times.
“A lot of people have had the time to start a small business or think about going it alone, a bit like myself, and this has lead to a greater demand in the commercial market also,” he added.
The last year has also seen Ryan branch out with the setting up of a virtual office based on Belfast’s Dublin Road.