Kilkenny: Showing healthy signs of recovery
Kilkenny showed strong signs of recovery in 2016. Prices increased in the city in 2015, but last year saw that growth spread out to the smaller towns such as Thomastown, Bennettsbridge and Callan.
Foreign buyers and non-locals are still interested in buying holiday homes in the county's more scenic parts like Inistioge.
Agent Peter McCreery says the market has strengthened, in both commercial and residential, with a lot more interest and transactions over the last 12 months.
Kilkenny has always attracted tourists for holidays, but McCreery has noticed a rise in buyers from out of town. "We've definitely seen an increase in overseas buyers, particularly young Irish people returning home after a few years abroad. We've also seen Europeans and Americans looking at some of the bigger houses, but doubts caused by Brexit and Trump are slowing down any major decisions."
Although prices have recovered in Kilkenny, building still hasn't started on the scale that's needed. "We sold the only new homes development, The Schoolyard, in Kilkenny this year. There was big demand for these A-rated three- and four-bed homes," says McCreery. "We are aware of several sites that should be developed, subject to planning permission, in 2017. Prices are finally getting to where they need to be for builders to return to the county."
The lettings market is also very strong in Kilkenny City, with rents rising by about 15pc in 2016. The city continues to do very well out of tourism, and it shows on the high street, with nearly 90pc of retail units now occupied.
The south county area down near Kells and close to Waterford City got a good boost in December with the announcement of a €59m investment in Medite Smartply, a wood-panel manufacturing facility, which will bring further employment, and also benefit the wider forestry and farming communities.
All of this good news makes McCreery expect big price growth in the year ahead, predicting a general increase of 10pc, with bigger rises of 16pc on three-bed bungalows outside the city.