Louth: Rural areas overlooked as workers stay close to towns
An influx of foreign nationals attached to multinationals have driven up rents significantly in the big towns of Louth, which now has big employers like PayPal and National Pen alongside traditional municipals like Dundalk IT. Many of these have been joined by priced-out Dubliners, particularly in Drogheda.
"A lot of people from both western and eastern Europe move to Louth from abroad to work for these companies," says Brian Carroll of Sherry FitzGerald Carroll. "These groups take up a lot of rental properties which means that sector is now very tight and rents have gone from €650 a month for a three-bed semi two years ago to €850-€900 now."
When it comes to home purchases, driven in the county by first-time buyers, Carroll describes the situation as "confused".
"The hype about the first-time buyers' grant and the alteration of the deposit rules have left first-time buyers bewildered about what they're entitled to," says Carroll. "It's not an all-inclusive scheme like the old grant; it's quite restrictive, especially for people who are returning from abroad in the hope of settling back in their home country, but who haven't been paying tax here for the last few years."
Despite this, the market remained strong in the €100,000 to €300,000 bracket.
There is a small amount of building going on in the county with schemes like Carlinn Hall, a former ghost estate in Dundalk, and Marlmount, also in Dundalk, both selling well.
Carroll says that the rural market in the county is steady enough but has noticed that people are moving out of the more rural areas to get closer to the towns for the amenities and services.
In terms of Brexit, Carroll remarks that it has brought about some hesitation on the commercial side of things but has had no real impact on the residential market. "In fact, there has been a renewed interest in Dundalk for companies and home- owners looking for a base between Dublin and Belfast airports. It's seen as a handy area in the eurozone, while still being close to the North."
Carroll predicts further growth in the property market in 2017 of about 7pc, with bigger rises expected in apartments and ex-Corporation houses, with investors snapping up these types of properties.