Mayo: Eager buyers are lining up
"We've had the best run in seven-eight years with anything that comes on selling very well," says Ballina-based agent Karl Fox of Fox & Gallagher whose prediction of an 8pc rise in prices through 2015 was smashed by an average increase of 10pc.
"You nearly have buyers lined up for the next property that comes on the market."
Indeed prices in some places around Ballina have risen by up to 15pc, with the three-bed bungalow being the type which is most in demand.
Stock is getting low, though, and Fox says prices for the three-bed semi will have to rise from €150,000 to about €190,000 to make it feasible for builders to move back in. Ground conditions are also an issue when it comes to building in the county.
"People are more conscious of where they want to build with the flooding in the past few years," says Fox. "Unless they are high, dry sites, they're not even entertained.
"There was a site just outside Ballina of 16 units and 12 of them were just badly flooded. Mayo County Council only gave planning for those houses eight-ten years ago."
Patrick Durcan of Property Partners Durcan in Castlebar, says that the lack of properties is having a detrimental effect on the rental market.
"A lot of younger couples are buying up the houses that would have usually been bought by investors. The rental market is completely starved of supply," says Durcan.
Like Ballina, prices are not where they need to be for builders to move into Castlebar but Durcan believes they are getting close.
There's a lack of good-quality homes on the market because people know if they put them on, they won't get a good price for them.
The new Central Bank regulations requiring a 20pc deposit for homes over €220,000 caused some issues: "The lending restrictions only come into play here for people wanting to trade up," says Durcan. "This is slowing things down on the upper-end of the market as a result because not only do they have to come up with a 20pc deposit, but they are also taking a hit on their property because prices haven't fully recovered, so they are staying put for the time being."
Both agents believe that there is still room in the market for a further growth of about 10pc in the coming year, to bring prices where they need to be for a return to new development.