Kerry: Big growth forecast, up from a low base
Around 90pc of the properties that are on the market now are receiver-connected sales, a reminder that not all regional markets are thriving almost a decade after the crash. These properties are mostly houses that people bought as an investment in boom times and have since run into problems keeping up payments on a second mortgage.
That said, local agent Eddie Barrett of North's Real Estate Alliance believes that 70pc of the required recovery of the property market in Kerry has been reached but that prices are still 30pc under reinstatement (construction) value in the county. There is a critical shortage of supply at the moment, with few prepared to sell because so many are still in negative equity. Barrett says the Government really needs to come up with a solution for the problems in the market all around the country, and not just in Dublin.
"They say unemployment rates have dropped in Kerry in the last eight years, but that's not because people have jobs; it's because they're leaving the county," says Barrett. "They need some initiative to get people to move back to Kerry. Every small town used to have its own contractor.
"When the building industry stopped, about 70pc of them went off in search of work elsewhere. They won't come back until there's money to be made again. The Government needs to look at incentivising the industry at building stage and not at the mortgage stage."
You could be forgiven for thinking that Kerry is flying because of the tourism industry, but Barrett is quick to point out that this only lasts for five months of the year. Also, the UK tourist won't be as keen to come over and spend their sterling as they would have in previous years because of Brexit. Commercially the county is suffering too, with a number of independent shops closing down due to the arrival of bigger-name stores.
Barrett says there are talks going on about the possibility of turning these empty units in Tralee into urban accommodation such as townhouses and apartments. Not only would this bring more life to the town but it would also bring badly needed homes for people crying out for them, both to rent and buy.
Prices rose in Kerry in 2016 by about 12pc. Barrett predicts that in 2017 urban homes will rise by another 12pc, rural properties by 8pc and holiday homes by 15pc.