Westmeath: Supply the main factor in pushing prices up 10pc
Westmeath prices rose by among the highest nationwide at about 10pc over the last 12 months. Supply is the big issue facing Westmeath going into 2016, according to Aidan Davitt of Sherry FitzGerald Davitt.
"The big factors for the year were the introduction of the 20pc deposit requirement by the Central Bank and the slow price increases towards the back end of the year," says Davitt.
"New starts are non-existent in Westmeath. The lack of supply is really squeezing the market. We saw in November and December that the supply issue is pushing prices forward, with houses making a lot more than we thought."
But it's not all doom and gloom for this busy county, with towns like Athlone and Mullingar still very much in demand. Davitt is anticipating that developers will return in 2016 to help with the shortage of good-quality homes. Among those the agents speculate might return are the developers JJ Owens & Sons Ltd, which was behind Coill Rua estate in Mullingar.
The 20pc deposit stymied the market for a short time in Westmeath, but according to Davitt, first-time buyers who really want to buy are now willing to jump in and pay whatever the house is priced at because supply is so short.
Davitt predicts another strong year for 2016. "I'd say houses prices will continue to rise next year for a number of reasons. There will still be an issue with tightening supply and increasing demand as mentioned; more people will be returning to the workplace; and renting is not really an option anymore because the houses aren't there. Taking all of these factors into account, I would envisage a rise at a rate of about 9pc."