Laois: Laois feeling benefit of spillover from Kildare
Prices began rising in Laois in 2014 and the trend continued through the last 12 months with local agents estimating a 12pc rise pushed on by an unexpected factor. Local agent Paul Kelly of DNG Kelly in Portlaoise puts some of the growth down to the new mortgage lending rules.
"The Central Bank mortgage regulations definitely affected us in a positive way in Laois," says Kelly. "We have plenty of properties below the €220,000 threshold, so buyers were spilling off from Kildare because they couldn't come up with the 20pc deposit that's now required for a property of that price."
Kelly says another reason for the activity in Laois in the past 12 months is the ease of the commute to Dublin, with Newland's Cross a 45-minute drive away. The county also has good rail links to all parts of the country which is another big plus for commuters.
The investor market is starting to dry up in Laois with owner-occupiers now accounting for about 70pc of the market. The three-bed semi is still the most typical property type to change hands, with a price increase of about 10pc in 2015.
While builders are slowly moving back into the county, repossessions are continuing to have an impact on the market there, and Kelly believes this issue will continue to impact in 2016.
"This year's prospects will depend on the amount of properties that banks and receivers bring to the market. Those properties are now flooding the market somewhat in Portlaoise especially. It is also proving very difficult to close sales of bank properties and this can be very frustrating for the buyer."
The improving prospects for family dwellings mean that the property types to increase fastest in value are the former council houses - albeit coming from a very low base. The two-bed versions were priced at around €30,000 in 2014 and moved up to €50,000 a year ago. They're now standing at €65,000 and likely to shift on again to €70,000 by this time next year.
Kelly is positive for the future of the county and predicts price growth of 8pc for the coming year.