Kildare ranks among leaders in Leinster housing market
Kildare's housing market is one of the strongest of the Leinster counties outside Dublin. Prices for two-, three- and four-bedroom houses are second only to those in Co Wicklow, according to the most recent Daft.ie survey of asking prices.
Indeed, the three-bedroom homes in the county, at an average of €169,000, are slightly higher than those in west Dublin, and outside the province, are exceeded only by those in Cork city.
In the three months towards the end of June, the county's housing market saw the average asking price for houses fall by 5.5pc. It will be interesting to see if this pace of price change slows down in the current season as demand is influenced by the deadline for mortgage interest relief.
Demand in the northern area of the county, especially in towns such as Naas and Celbridge, benefits from the ease of commuting by road and rail to Dublin city centre and the many employers situated along the arterial routes of the M4 and M7.
Maynooth's market, on the other hand, benefits from the thousands of students who attend the local university as well as those working with Leixlip's hi-tech employers such as Intel.
During the boom, the county also saw many homeowners buying plots of land and commissioning architects to design houses or undertake lavish refurbishments of old houses. Such was the quality of these houses, that the county was compared to the posh D4 area of Dublin, and Kildare's upmarket homes earned the reputation for being located in K4.
Prices for four-bedroom houses and two-bedroom apartments also appear to have fared better than most other counties, with asking prices for four bed homes averaging €259,000 while two-bedroom units average €115,000. However, one-bedroom flats have not fared as well, averaging €59,000 or sixth from the top in the province's price league.
Nevertheless, there appears to be a healthy demand for apartments as the most recent census recorded that 6,045 apartments were occupied in Kildare in 2011 or 8.5pc of all occupied households thanks in part to good student demand in Maynooth.
The Roof Over Our Heads survey by the Central Statistics Office, showed that rents for private accommodation in Kildare fell from an average weekly rate of €194 in 2006 to €168 in 2011.
In contrast, the most recent Daft.ie survey showed rents in Maynooth rose by 0.4pc for two-bedroom units to an average of €851 per month. The Daft.ie survey also showed rents for all other types of accommodation in the university town fell in the second quarter of this year, including those for single room digs as well as three-bedroom homes and five-bedroom plus houses. Maynooth's landlords may be faring better than most of those in the rest of the county as the Daft.ie rent survey also shows that monthly rents across all Dublin commuter counties are, on average, below Maynooth at €683 for two-bedroom units.
The CSO survey also shows that while 73.7pc of the 70,504 households in Kildare own their own homes, on the other hand as many as 17,584 households, or 24.9pc, are living in rented accommodation.
The number of dwellings that were owned through an existing mortgage or loan stood at 32,476, according to the last census, a slight improvement on the 31,846 in 2006.
While as many as 6,311 dwellings were vacant in 2011, this accounts for only 8pc of residential properties in the county, which is below the 10.3pc vacancy level for Leinster and below the 14.5pc vacancy level for the whole country. Of those vacant properties, 4,432 are houses and 1,691 are apartments.
The lowest vacancy rates were in the areas of Kilteel, Kilmead and Ladytown, which ranged around 2.3pc to 2.7pc. The highest vacancy rates were seen in percentage terms as being in Straffan (21.9pc), Ballytore (16.4pc) and Monasterevan (16.4pc).
The Straffan vacancy rate seems particularly disappointing considering that the Ryder Cup golf competition in the village's K Club was expected to boost demand for property in the area.
However, it is a relatively small village and there is a possibility that some of the homes may have been owned by golfers who were not staying there on the Sunday night that the census was taken. Holiday homes in the county totalled 188.