Wednesday 25 April 2018

Leitrim: ‘No bargains in Leitrim’ as supply dries up – and Brexit begins to bite

Hartley House, Carrick-on-Shannon, sold last May for €483,000
Hartley House, Carrick-on-Shannon, sold last May for €483,000

The Leitrim property market hit the headlines last December after an online auction for a rural cottage there that was priced for “less than a family car” drew interest from 30 would-be buyers across the world. Killasanowel Cottage, on 1.7 acres of farmland 5km outside Carrick-On-Shannon and was described by its agent as a “project”, was eventually sold to a UK buyer for €32,000.

Such bargains are few and far between, though. These days, Leitrim is dealing with the same kind of housing shortage as the rest of the country, according to Liam Farrell of Farrell Property Group, and prices have risen.

“Most of the distressed property has been sold and 10 years have elapsed since any significant development has been built, so there is not a huge amount of property coming on stream,” Farrell says. “Plus, the requirements of anyone who stayed in Ireland during the recession have matured and they want to buy, as do people who went to Australia and have come back with a bit of money. Add those to people who want to leave the rental market and you have a new generation of buyers.”

While four-bed semis in Leitrim towns were the most popular in 2016, three-bed semis sold the most in 2017, according to Farrell. Prices for the latter jumped 24pc to an average €118,000 last year and are set to climb a further 14pc by the end of 2018 as buyers look to swap rising rents for cheaper mortgage repayments. Three-bed semis are still selling for below the current cost of construction, which has deterred developers from building new stock, though many unfinished estates have been completed by new developers.

Prices for the average holiday home are stagnant at €95,000 as buyers from the UK are drying up. “Brexit has had a very negative effect,” Farrell says. “Buyers are only interested in holiday homes priced between €45,000 and €60,000, something that is not available.”

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