Commuter belt widens to 100km - with Wexford and Laois becoming prime spots for workers in Dublin
Buyers are now prepared to drive almost 100km to work, sparking huge house price surges in Laois, Carlow and Wexford.
Unaffordable rents combined with a strict lending regime are pushing Dublin workers into former outer commuter belt locations, which haven't seen city buyers since the boom years.
The findings of 'How Much Is Your House Worth? 2018', the Irish Independent's annual property price guide for local markets, indicate that 2018 will be the year of the long-distance commuter.
It also indicates soaring prices for local first-time buyers in midlands and coastal locations within a 100km radius of the capital's city centre.
The data gleaned from local estate agents all over Ireland shows prices are up by 25pc in Co Laois, with Portlaoise being the most popular target (90km away from Dublin) while 20pc has been added to prices in Wexford where Gorey is the most popular destination (90km).
Despite having risen by a quarter, the average house price in Laois remains relatively affordable at €178,000, while the Wexford average is €170,000.
This compares with the price of an average Dublin 14 home of €625,000 and €410,000 in Dublin 15, both completely out of the reach of average couples. But thanks to rocketing rents caused by the housing shortage, Dubliners can no longer afford to rent.
For their part, towns located two counties away from Dublin have not seen commuter interest like this since 2007.
"Prices in Kildare are increasing so much that people can't afford it any more, so they are looking at Portlaoise and Portarlington," said local agent Paul Kelly of DNG Kelly, who recorded a 22pc increase in homes sold last year.
Unexpected commuter target destinations also named today include Kilkenny and even parts of Roscommon.
"There are a lot of professional couples in Dublin who want more relaxed lifestyles and are prepared to commute or work from home a few days a week," said local estate Peter McCreery of Sherry FitzGerald McCreery in Kilkenny.
Prices are up 11pc in Monaghan, 10pc in Cavan, 10pc in Westmeath, 10pc in Offaly and 8pc in Carlow.
Monaghan estate agent Dermot Conlon of REA Gunne said buyers were coming from North Dublin to purchase homes in Carrickmacross (96km) and Castleblayney (114km).
"Because they are paying rents of €1,500 per month for a three-bed semi in Balbriggan or Swords, they are eager to reduce their monthly outgoings."