Laois: Commuters on track to snap up Laois dwellings
The rising prices in Kildare are pushing commuters even further out of the city to places like Portarlington and Portlaoise. The fact that they can get in and out to Heuston station by 50 minutes on the fast train is adding to the appeal of the county.
Low house prices are also a driving force behind young buyers coming to Laois in search of their first home. House prices rose by 9pc last year on average, with the price of a three-bed semi in town rising 10pc to €165,000 and the value of a four-bed detached family home up 7pc to €200,000.
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Agent Paul Kelly has noticed a reduction in the level of stock available for buyers in the past 12 months, but says that it is still meeting the steady demand out there. First-time buyers are, however, struggling to get mortgage approval because rental prices are also rising, making it difficult to save for a deposit, but Kelly says that the Help to Buy scheme is working.
Mr Kelly says the market in Laois is now mostly made up by these first-time buyers mixed with a high percentage of eastern Europeans, who are looking for affordable homes and aren't biased about the area because they don't have the ties and associations Irish buyers tend to.
With a liking among eastern Europeans for apartments, it was not surprising that one bed values rose by 14pc and two beds by 12pc respectively.
Sales have been strongest in Portarlington and Portlaoise because of the good transport links to Dublin and a higher level of stock, giving the buyer more choice. Mr Kelly predicts a further rise in property values in Laois of an average of 8pc in the coming year, with a detached 2,000sq ft property expected to go up by 6pc, while a two-bed cottage could go up by 18pc.