Carlow: Carlow town a clever buy if you're willing to commute
In the past in Carlow, any properties that came onto the market through receivers were always sold to investors looking to rent them out. Stock is now so low in the county that 50pc of these sales are currently going to owner-occupiers.
Agent Harry Sothern of Sothern Real Estate Alliance says lower-end properties around the town are in huge demand. "Anything that comes in goes back out very quickly. We have a turnaround time of about 40 days at the moment. We're still selling at below build cost in Carlow, so traditional rental properties or apartments are great value."
Given these conditions, Sothern is predicting a price increase of 20pc for one- and two-bed apartments through the next 12 months. A one-bed is currently averaging €50,000 so, even with a 20pc hike, it will still be possible to buy an apartment for about €60,000.
The county is crying out for new houses, and Sothern believes building will begin again this year. "Nothing new has come on in eight years. Hopefully, we've now reached the point where the builders can come back to the market and make a profit," says Sothern.
"It will be a slow process, though, because builders will now just build a showhouse or two and then sell off the plans so they know they are guaranteed the sale. It's a case of 'show me the money' for developers so they know they won't get burnt."
The Kerry Group moving into Naas has brought a buzz to the Kildare town but has also sucked buyers into Carlow town, where they can get more for their money. A three-bed bungalow in Naas could set you back €400,000 but you could buy the same type of property in Carlow town for half the price, making the 45-minute commute more palatable.
Sothern is cautious about predicting which way the property market will go in the county in the next 12 months. "We'll continue to look over our shoulders," he says. "We're not too worried about Brexit because we didn't have many buyers coming from the UK, but it could affect businesses in the area, which would then be a concern for the economy."