Roscommon: Buyers move out for value
Prices may be rising hard in Roscommon, but the county is still perceived as very affordable by buyers willing to commute to Dublin on the M6 - an off-peak journey of one hour 30 minutes - and to Athlone, a 25-minute drive from Roscommon town.
The price of a three-bed bungalow in a town jumped 14pc to €150,000 in 2017 and is forecast to climb 7pc to €160,000 this year, as the number of properties on the market fell.
David Diffley of Property Partners Earley says, "The people who don't like to live in urban areas like to settle in Roscommon town as it's not overdeveloped and has a nice population. So we have a healthy market for detached properties, which can be the same price as semis in Athlone.
"The Connacht side of Athlone has been expanding that and that's where the big pharmaceutical factories are, which has brought momentum into the Roscommon market."
Owner-occupiers account for 60pc of the market at present, with investors making up the rest. Rather than buy one house, the latter cohort is buying groups of apartments or houses. "First-time buyers are big in the market because they realise that by delaying a purchase, they are doing themselves no favours because the quantity of stock they were chasing was drying up and because they realised by the end of the year that prices weren't slowing down," Diffley says.
First-time buyers who cannot find an affordable property in Roscommon town are moving out to villages such as Curraghboy and Four Mile House, where they can pick up a detached property for €250,000.
Fresh development is starting to pick up in Roscommon town now that investors who bought up unfinished stock over the last three years have sold the finished-out properties. There are 40 more homes to sell at Oldwood, a scheme of A-rated three-bed houses, with a phase of three-bed bungalows expected to be released in the spring.
"There are also sites where developers are looking to construct homes in the north of the county over the next 12 months," Diffley says. "But there still isn't the incentive for builders to construct A-rated houses from scratch with a VAT rate on sales of 13.5pc."
In Ballinlough, near the Mayo border, seven bungalows completed to a builder's finish are for sale in one lot in the Hillview estate for €350,000. Diffley expects the new owner will sell these properties individually in 2018.