Property in Ennis has been on the up since the end of the summer of 2014, says local agent, Diarmuid McMahon of Sherry FitzGerald McMahon, with increases of over 10pc for some types of houses and where there are specific pressure points.
"Outside Ennis the market is flat at best," says McMahon.
McMahon would like to have more big detached five-bedroom houses and four-bed semis in Ennis on his books, as well as good family homes on an acre or more within easy reach of the motorway.
Many Ennis residents commute to work in Limerick, Shannon and Galway, and enjoy a high standard of living and quality of life, with a choice of schools, and good leisure and shopping facilities. Ennis itself has no big single employer, but is a stable market town.
|3-bed semi in town,||€110,000||€120,000||€126,500|
|3-bed semi out of town,||€90,000||€100,000||€110,000|
|4-bed semi in town,||€140,000||€150,000||€165,000|
|4-bed semi out of town,||€110,000||€135,000||€148,500|
|3-bed bungalow in town,||€135,000||€160,000||€176,000|
|3-bed bungalow outside town,||€125,000||€150,000||€165,000|
|4-bed bungalow in town,||€155,000||€175,000||€192,500|
|4-bed bungalow outside town,||€136,000||€160,000||€176,000|
|"Detached 2,000+ sq ft",||€275,000||€300,000||€330,000|
|2 up/2 down,||€70,000||€80,000||€88,000|
|Ex-corporation 3 bed,||€55,000||€50,000||€55,000|
In terms of property across the county, McMahon is hopeful that the psychological needle may have swung from a minor negative position to a minor positive position, and that this will be reflected in an increase in house prices in 2015.
"I think that perhaps the rubicon has been crossed," he says.
The ending of CGT relief in December 2014 brought artificial pressure to close deals before the year-end, and McMahon's sense is that volumes may drop in the early part of 2015. As elsewhere, one of the major issues is the availability of stock and, with building costs at their current level, there is no margin for developers to build the starter homes that are needed.
Builders won't start construction until prices recover and that brings about more pressure in the short term.
"The people who were putting their money into Swiss government bonds with negative yields a few years ago are now willing to re-enter the market," says McMahon. "That has to be a good thing."
A couple of promising sales in 2014 (a holiday home in Lahinch guiding €450,000 and a farmhouse on 13 acres in a good location which guided €200,000 and sold at auction for €390,000) have contributed to McMahon's cautious optimism for the year ahead.
"There are already signs of growth in certain pockets, and I don't think that the 20pc deposit requirement for first-time buyers is going to have anything like the impact here that it will in Dublin."