Offaly: Demand now exceeds supply for the first time in years
Offaly has an affluent town or two but it has been lagging behind many other counties in the recovery. But for the first time in years, agent Richard Cleary of Property Partners Cleary has noticed that demand is exceeding supply in Offaly. There has been no new development in Tullamore in the past eight or nine years, so the county is now reaching a point where new builds would be very welcome.
"The first planning permission in the area was granted last year for a development of about 70 or 80 homes in Tullamore," says Cleary. "There is certainly a demand for new homes at the moment but I don't know how feasible it will be to sell them.
"My understanding is that if a developer wants to make a reasonable profit out of building three and four-bed semis, you'd want to be selling three-beds for a least €220,000, but at the moment they are only selling for €180,000, so there's a way to go yet."
Investors and first-time buyers are now competing with each other for anything that comes onto the lower end of the market. "Bank sales are where the value is in the Offaly right now," says Cleary.
"The banks are drip-feeding receiver properties into the market. They might put a price of €150,000 on one property, and, in nearly every case, the asking price will be exceeded, so they put the next property on at €160,000."
With first-time buyers now grabbing traditional investment properties, the rental market is being squeezed and prices are rising all the time. According to Cleary, 12 months ago the average monthly rent was €600-€650, and it now stands at €850-€900.
Tullamore is still the principal town in the county, with a recent increase in interest in Edenderry. "We've been selling property in Edenderry to people who are coming from Maynooth and Celbridge, where they were outpriced, so they're moving further out and commuting," says Cleary. "It might be a bit off the beaten track but the property prices there are very appealing."
With the prevailing supply conditions, Cleary can only see stiff upward increases in the year ahead and predicts 9pc on average, with the lower end of the market seeing even higher hikes again.