Donegal: Sterling slap for holiday homes and businesses
The Donegal property market is another Brexit casualty; 2016 started on a positive note for Joe Reynolds of Property Partners Paul Reynolds & Co in Letter- kenny, but then the news of Brexit hit and things slowed down.
"The holiday market has definitely been affected," says Reynolds. "Coastal towns like Dunfanaghy, Rathmullan and Rossnowlagh are certainly feeling the impact. Lots of sales have fallen through in these areas because they were always very popular with Northern buyers."
Ominously, the economies of the business towns are also being hit, which in turn impacts on property. Regarding Letter- kenny, he says, "There's a double whammy for us up here - where once people would have come from the North to shop here, they are now going across to Strabane to take advantage of the sterling."
Things are much the same for Cormac Meehan of Sean Meehan & Co down in Bundoran. "Towards the latter part of the year we felt the impact of Brexit. We haven't been too badly hit yet, though, because anyone who was on our books at the time already had their finances in place, so they went ahead with the sale. In other cases, people who were sale agreed at the time tried to renegotiate foreign exchange rates. Only time will tell how it will all go this year, though."
Supply is tight around Bundoran, so anything that comes onto the market sells quickly, provided it's priced right.
Meehan has noticed a shift from the three-bed semi to the family bungalow. "The reasonable price of the bungalow, currently at around €160,000-€190,000 depending on the location, has moved people away from the three-bed semi. They're pushing themselves to get the house with more space around them."
Prices in Donegal are up 12pc. Both Reynolds and Meehan are reluctant to predict what's in store for the market in the year ahead, with so much uncertainty surrounding Brexit. But when pressed, it looks like a possible average increase of 7pc across Donegal in 2017 - but things could go either way, according to the experts.