Leitrim: Brexit potentially poised to batter burgeoning bounce
Leitrim, with its stunning scenery, its status as one of Ireland's cheapest areas to buy a property and its quasi-bohemian cachet, has always been popular with non-Irish-roots, British-based buyers and foreigners from all sorts of places. But this fact, and its position close to the border, means that Leitrim's property market was always going to take a whack from the Brexit stick.
"Brexit has definitely been felt in Leitrim," says Liam Farrell of the Farrell Property Group, who says that the market has been spun around just as the shoots of recovery were emerging. "It takes very little to knock confidence back, and British and Northern Irish-based buyers have taken a step back once again to wait it out, just when then things were starting to pick up."
Farrell is now getting very little interest from UK buyers, with enquiries drying up, which means that the once-strong holiday-home market has gone quiet again.
What Farrell has noticed in the past 12 months in Leitrim is the new generation of Irish buyer coming back from abroad and looking to put down roots. "This is bringing about a small bit of confidence to the market," says Farrell.
As with many counties across Ireland, supply is actually very tight in Leitrim. There is one new development on the go at the moment that is selling well. Glas na hAbhainn is a scheme of bungalows on the outskirts of Carrick-on-Shannon that was abandoned during the crash, but builders have recently moved back in and are now finishing homes for market again.
Last year, prices rose in the county by an average of 15pc. One-bed apartments went up by a whopping 30pc, bringing them to €58,000. Semi-Ds increased by less, at around 6-7pc.
Farrell is hoping for a reasonably good year in 2017 but is concerned about supply and says that prices will continue to be pushed up because of the demand. He is predicting an increase of 12pc for the next 12 months, with some house types doing better than others. While this might sound high, prices within crash- battered Leitrim are coming back from a very low base.