Monaghan: Battered by Brexit on road to recovery
The further north you go, the more keenly the effects of last year's Brexit vote are felt. The border county of Monaghan, which took so long to show green shoots after the property crash, is among the counties to feel the Brexit impact most.
Agent Dermot Conlon of REA Gunne Property in Carrickmacross, is understandably despondent, figuring that the county takes one step forward and then "gets knocked back again by some issue or other".
"Brexit has a bearing on us more acutely than anyone else," he says. "Jobs here are vulnerable now. People are going north to shop and it's putting huge pressure on the retail sector in Monaghan. Last year started off very positively, and then Brexit landed. It's a real waiting game up here." Conlon has noticed the return of the Dublin buyer to the county, particularly in Carrickmacross. "Back in the boom times we had people buying property here and then commuting to Dublin for work. This died off for a few years but we're slowly seeing it starting up again. There are buses leaving Carrickmacross every morning at 6.30am to Dublin and they are full."
There has been no new building in the county for the best part of 10 years, which is creating a pent-up demand. Properties coming to the market are few and far between, putting more pressure on the already tight rental market.
"With the current costs of planning, VAT and services, builders just can't afford to come back to the market in Monaghan right now," says Conlon. "The Government will have to take a radical view on this. They're afraid to make any concession to the developers, for fear that they will be accused of fuelling the market again. But not helping is doing the opposite."
By virtue of the lack of supply, prices rose by an average of 10pc last year but from a very low base - a three-bed semi in town costs just €150,000. Conlon believes that prices will continue to go up because of the high demand for such a small number of properties. He predicts an increase of 9pc in 2017, with holiday homes and apartments seeing the biggest price rises.