Kildare houses hit top tier for Leinster prices
County Kildare has had a long tradition of providing attractive homes for those who like to enjoy a lifestyle as much as a property. One only has to reflect on some of Ireland's most stately mansions -- Carton House, Maynooth, home to the Dukes of Leinster, Castletown Demesne, The Lyons Estate and Straffan House as well as the many stud farms and racing stables dotted around the Curragh.
During the property boom this tradition became reflected in the development of stylish homes on more modest parcels of land and gave rise to a new mythical postal code known as K4.
While no such area exists it is perhaps best reflected in the attractive one-off houses built in the last 15 years around Straffan and Punchestown.
Some of the world's most famous international businesses have moved into the county, including Intel and Hewlett Packard in Leixlip, Wyeth in Newbridge and then there is also the National University in Maynooth.
In addition its first-class road and train services to the capital have meant that the county has proven an attractive location for those who are willing to commute while benefiting from house prices that are keener than those in Dublin.
While average house prices in the county are more than 43pc off their peak, the relative strength of the market is seen in its three-, four- and five-bedroom house prices, which are third highest in Leinster, exceeded only by those in Dublin and Wicklow.
House prices in the county fell by 7.3pc to an average of €217,666 according to the Daft survey of asking prices for the first quarter of this year.
From their peak they are down 43.4pc. This is the lowest fall from peak than any other Leinster county except Carlow, as Leinster's average fall from peak is 45pc. At the end of March the average three-bedroom Kildare home price was €197,000.
However, agents point out that some sectors of the market have suffered falls of more than 60pc, noticeably in the apartment market, which has been affected by the way first-time buyers have graduated to houses.
"Now they can buy a three-bedroom semi in places such as Newbridge for less than €200,000," one agent explains.
Since stamp duty was cut in the last Budget to 1pc, family houses are also proving more attractive for those trading up, with the average four-bedroom house now asking €308,000 and the average five-bedroom home asking €406,000.