Westmeath: Supply a problem for buyers
As with many other counties around the country, supply is the biggest problem for buyers in Westmeath, and prices are reacting stronger here than in most other counties. Local agent Aidan Davitt says the supply situation is so desperate that he doesn't know where the market can go at this point.
"There is very little in the way of building in the pipeline and progress is very slow for anything in the planning stages," says Davitt. "There's a bottleneck and I don't know where it's going to end."
The acute shortage has had a big impact on prices, which went up on average of 12pc in 2016, with a big rise in four-bed detached houses outside town of 18pc. The biggest value increase by type - a heady 25pc - was seen in one-bed cottages.
Davitt notes that houses which were traditionally bought by investors are now being snapped up by first-time buyers because there is quite simply nothing else out there for them to buy.
This means there are fewer rental properties out there so rents are rising and good-quality lets are getting hard to come by.
It is now far cheaper to pay a mortgage in the county than to rent, with the average monthly rent now standing at €727, according to daft.ie. The site finds that the mortgage on a two-bed house in Westmeath would be €331 a month, but the rent would be about €591, a high 56pc extra.
When it comes to buying, towns such as Athlone and Mullingar are still very much in demand, with areas like Petitswood Manor and Lakepoint Park in Mullingar always attracting a lot of interest.
Davitt is predicting a general rise of 8pc for the coming year and believes that bungalows inside and just outside towns will see the biggest increases of somewhere between 14-17pc.
He is also predicting a rise in apartments of 10-13pc, taking a two-bed apartment to €110,000 this time next year.