Donegal house prices have increased by 11.5% in the past year, according to a new report by the housing website Daft.ie.
The average price for a house in the county now stands at €138,500. This compares to €517, 719 in Co. Dubli, the highest in the country, and to €118,590 in Leitrim and €117,688 in Sligo, according to Daft's latest quarterly report.
Commenting on the findings, Eamonn McBride of McBride Auctioneers in Gweedore said he believes the increase could be partly due to investment from Northern Ireland and England, particularly when sterling was performing well against the euro.
McBride cites county council spending as another reason for the rising prices. He says, “The county council has picked up a lot of houses in the last year, especially in Gweedore, The Rosses and Cloughaneely.”
Dr Lorcan Sirr, lecturer of housing studies at the Dublin Institute of Technology, explains the effects of Northern Irish and British investment.
“Donegal is in a unique position, being both a very scenic county and next door to another country. This has led to regular sales to people from Northern Ireland. Along with that, there has been a recovery in the economy, which will mean more jobs in Donegal for local people, but also more money elsewhere for people to buy second homes,”he says.
The housing market in Donegal was in depression between 2008 and 2012, with prices down an average of 55% nationally. Given this, an 11.5% increase is not quite the jump it seems, Paul Franklin of Franklin Auctioneers explains. “When you account for how low prices were, this is not a huge increase. The economy has been improving over the past 18 month to two years and people have the confidence to invest again,” he says. “Prices will continue to rise, there is no doubt about it. Demand has been pent up for a long time and now we are seeing it come through in rising prices. Those who emigrated are coming back and they’re buying. The market can only go one way,” he concludes.