The Taoiseach's Triangle
The prospective upgrading of the Tanaiste's Triangle to the Taoiseach's Triangle is being welcomed by property owners and punters in the region between Tullamore, Portlaoise, Athlone and Mullingar.
Although only the first two of these towns are in Brian Cowen's Laois Offaly constituency, the other two are designated as part of the Midlands Gateway, which is one of the gateways targeted for job creating investment.
Barry Cowen, auctioneering brother of the Taoiseach elect, is sceptical about reports that the new Taoiseach will move into the recently refurbished Stewards House in Farmleigh in the Phoenix Park.
"We expect that he will avail of the recent improvements in the road infrastructure to continue to commute to Dublin. We also hope that his presence here will help to attract more attention for the area from a wider audience. There are plenty of Farmleigh-style houses here and if he wants one, he would get it for half Farmleigh's price."
Director of DNG Cowen, which has offices in Tullamore and Portlaoise, Barry acknowledges that prices in Offaly have fallen by about 20pc in the past 18 months.
"I thought there was a bit of the pick-up before the Easter but then the holidays caused stagnation in March sales," he adds.
Currently in Tullamore three-bedroom semis are selling for around €270,000 and four-bedroom detached etsate houses are fetching €320,000.
"The growth in the bubble has eased. It hasn't burst. Hopefully we'll see prices stabilise at current levels and it would be nice if they were to increase by three to four per cent," he added.
Athlone agent Healy Hynes of Hynes Real Estate Alliance also welcomed Brian Cowen's election. "It can only be good for the region. We expect that he will bring more urgency to the improvements in road and rail access between the towns."
Also known as 'Cowen Central', Tullamore, Clara and Athlone currently benefit from their stations on the Galway to Heuston rail links and Mullingar is on the Sligo to Connolly line. A local lobby group is also seeking the re-opening of the existing Mullingar to Athlone line for passenger traffic. Already Clara has benefitted from the existing rail services and Mr Hynes reports that prices in the Heather Grove estates have held the 10pc increases which they saw about 18 months ago. More keenly priced than Tullamore, the Clara semis range from €224,950 for three bedrooms to €239,950 for four bedrooms.