As the housing crisis continues to escalate, dwellings within Athlone and its environs remain on trend with the national outlook as the latest figures released confirm that the average price of a three bedroom semi-detached property increased by 1.4 percent to €185,000 in the months between June and September.
This quarterly increase reflects a general pattern for properties throughout the county in the last twelve months with an average price rise of 8.8 percent. This figure is reflective of the demand for houses which, at the present time, is firmly outweighing the supply.
Speaking with regard to the released figures, Healy Hynes, REA Hynes Auctioneers, Athlone, noted that property sales had increased but the need to supply more house to the marketplace remains.
"Across the property market, we have seen a substantial lift in sales when compared with recent years. First time buyers are beginning to have more confidence with regard to making their initial purchase in Athlone and the surrounding areas.
"With large scale industrial economy and an increasing student body within Athlone and its environs, the town has the ability to bounce back and as we have noticed, this has been reflected in the uptake of house purchases," Mr. Hynes commented.
While sentiment towards property purchasing on a local level has improved, Mr. Hynes added that presently, it does not make economic sense for private developers to begin large scale housing developments.
"Prices are just shy of making economic sense for private developers to commence housing projects when you consider the enhanced building regulations and the need for all new builds to be now completely energy efficient aware," Mr. Hynes remarked.
The house rental market appears to be mirroring that of the buyers with prices also continuing to increase.
"The rental property supply is low with tenancy terms increasing in length. This is materialising into an issue as where previously you had occupancy changes on a regular basis, now landlords are issuing three and four year contracts to their tenants. This is causing a limited supply of properties locally across the rental market," Healy stated.
In the main however, Mr. Hynes believes that there is a "bit more hope in the air" with regard to property market purchases.
Pertaining to the housing shortage locally, as reported in a recent edition of the Athlone Advertiser, Westmeath County Council is fully committed to the construction of 400 properties in Athlone by the conclusion of 2021.