HOUSE prices in Laois fell slightly at the end of last year, but the rate of decrease was lower than neighbouring counties.
New figures show that the cost of buying a house in Laois fell by just 1.9% between September and December 2019, bringing the average house price in the county to €173,339.
This compares with a price fall of 4.2% to €178,918 in Co Offaly, 3.1% to €209,516 in Co Kilkenny and 4% to €182,135 in Co Carlow.
It is the first calendar year recording a fall in prices since 2012, according to the latest report just released by Ireland’s largest property website daft.ie. The average price nationally in the final quarter of 2019 was €250,766, which is 2.4% lower than in the third quarter and 1.2% lower than the same period last year.
However, the slight price drop at the end of 2019 followed steady increases in the average cost of a house in Laois in previous years, including a big rise of 12% during 2018 alone. So while prices fell very slightly in the last few months of 2019, the latest average house price of €173,339 in Laois compares with just under €150,000 in the last quarter of 2017, a significant rise in just two years.
Overall, prices in Laois have risen by a massive 67% since the rock-bottom lows of the recession but, as expected, the annual rate of increase has slowed down both locally and nationally.
According to the report, Leitrim is the cheapest county in Ireland in which to buy a house, with an average property price of just €125,603, followed by Longford at just €132,787. As always, south county Dublin is the most expensive in the country with an average house price of €566,776. Prices in Dublin in late 2019 were 1% lower than a year previously. The average house price in the capital is now €366,000, which is 26% below peak levels.
The final daft.ie sales report for 2019 also shows that the number of properties on the market nationwide was just under 22,500 in December, down almost 5% year-on-year. Following nearly 18 months of improving availability, it was the fourth month in a row where the number of available houses fell. The fall in the number of houses on the market affected almost all parts of the country, with only Leinster – outside Dublin – bucking the trend.
The author of the daft.ie report, Trinity College Dublin economist Ronan Lyons, summed up its findings by commenting: “In the first and final quarters of the 2010s, sale prices were falling, but that is where the similarities end. Over the last ten years, the sales segment of Ireland’s housing market has transformed, albeit slowly. As it enters the 2020s, there appears to be relatively good balance between the ‘pipeline’ of newly-built owner-occupied housing and the number of households able to buy that housing, given constraints such as the mortgage rules. Where falling prices represent the ability of developers to build new homes for less, this fall is good for the country’s competitiveness.”