SPECIAL REPORT: Irish property sales and prices achieved in 2014

More than 40,200 residential sales were recorded in 2014 — the highest level of property sales since the register was introduced in 2010, writes Seán McCárthaigh.

The value of all house sales in Ireland soared by a massive 50% last year with transactions worth almost €9 billion — up from €6bn in 2013.

An analysis by the Irish Examiner of all full-price property transactions recorded on the Residential Property Price Register also shows the number of houses and apartments sold last year increased by 43%.

More than 40,200 residential sales were recorded in 2014 — an annual increase of 12,140 and the highest level of property sales since the register was introduced in 2010.

The surge in buying and selling of residential property was experienced across the country with the number and value of property transactions up in all 26 counties.

However, the pace of growth was sluggish in several locations, including counties which have an oversupply of vacant properties from the construction boom of the mid-2000s, including Roscommon, Leitrim, and Cavan.

If the Dublin property market is excluded, average house prices in the rest of the country rose only marginally during 2014 — up just 0.4%, or €500, to €119,500.

Graph: Property Sales and Prices in 2014

Signs of life in the construction sector were also evident with more than 5,000 new homes sold during 2014 compared to less than 3,600 in the previous year. New houses and apartments accounted for one in eight of all property sales last year, creating total sales of €1.1bn.

Despite such a strong performance by the entire sector, average house prices continued to fall in several counties, including Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Cavan, and Roscommon.

Although much focus has been on the growth of property prices in Dublin during 2014, average prices actually grew at a faster pace in parts of Dublin’s commuter belt than in the capital itself.

Kildare recorded the biggest increase with median prices of all house sales in the county, up 18.6% or €33,500 to €213,500.

Other counties where the rate of house price increases outstripped Dublin were Offaly, Meath, and Wicklow.

Dublin remains the most expensive location for housing, with median house prices in 2014 at €265,000 — an increase of 13.2%, largely driven by the cost of new houses and apartments, which were an average of €295,000.

Median prices in the country

The next most expensive area for residential properties is the greater Dublin region incorporating Wicklow, Kildare, and Meath, followed by Cork and Galway.

The cheapest house prices in the country are found in Longford, where average prices last year were just €55,000. Other cheap locations for housing are Leitrim, Roscommon, and Cavan, where average prices remain under €63,000.

The most expensive property transaction last year, in July, was the sale of three apartment blocks which form part of the Central Park development in Leopardstown in south Dublin for almost €86.4m. The same property was also recorded as being sold just four months earlier for €70.5m.

Central Park development in Leopardstown.

The cheapest, full-price house sale in Ireland last year was recorded for a second-hand property at Cloghan, Glencolmcille, Co Donegal, for just €5,079.

The Irish Examiner has analysed the records of more than 42,000 properties sold across Ireland during 2014.

The figures are calculated on the basis of excluding around 1,000 properties (or 2.3% of the total) which were not sold at full market value, while 13.5% was added to the recorded price of new homes to reflect the Vat element and true cost of housing to buyers. (The median figure is used for “average” house prices as it reflects the mid-value of all properties sold in a given county.)

CARLOW

Number of properties sold:

403 (+21%)

Value of properties sold:

€48.2m (+16%)

Median price:

€113,000 (+13%)

Most expensive property:

Rathwade House, Rathwade, Nurney — €600,000

Cheapest property:

Drummond, St Mullins, St Mullins — €20,000

31 Fennagh, Carlow — €20,000

Property sales in Carlow mirrored the industry nationally by recording growth in terms of the number of transactions, their value and average prices making it the best year for the industry in the county since 2010.

However, the pace of growth in terms of volume and value remained somewhat sluggish in comparison to many other parts of the country — a fact not too surprising given the size of Carlow.

It has the fifth smallest property market in the country with overall sales generating €48.2m in business.

The overall number of house sales in Carlow rose by 21% — up 70 to 403 in 2014 with new homes accounting for almost one in five of all sales.

Average property prices in the county rose by 13% last year to €113,000 — one of the larger growth rates in the country and just behind levels recorded in Dublin.

The increase was largely attributable to the price of new homes in Carlow, which were up by almost €36,000 in the space of a year to just under €140,000.

However, prices are still well below the levels in 2011.

CAVAN

Number of properties sold:

770 (+57%)

Value of properties sold:

€59.2m (+43%)

Median price:

€62,500 (-4%)

Most expensive property:

Rahardrum, Virginia — €500,000

Cheapest property:

Shancor, Cornasean — €9,000

A county associated with larger-than-average family homes and a large number of ghost estates, Cavan recorded a significant resurgence in activity in its property market last year.

The overall number of transactions was up 58% to 770, with a particular strong showing in second-hand sales.

The value of all property sales in the county rose by 43% — up €17.9m to €59.2m.

Despite increased activity levels, an oversupply of houses was probably an important contributory factor in the fact that average prices continued to slide in Cavan last year and house prices are now just half of what they cost in 2011.

The median price of second-hand homes fell by €5,000 to €60,000 making Cavan the second cheapest location in the Republic for second-hand properties. The slightly more expensive cost of new homes in Cavan helped to push the average price of all property types in the county to €62,500, but it too is down from €65,000 in 2013.

The scale of the collapse in the property market can be seen by the fact average prices were €145,000 in 2010.

CLARE

Number of properties sold:

960 (+60%)

Value of properties sold:

€119.7m (+63%)

Median price:

€102,075 (+3%)

Most expensive property:

Doonbeg Property Company, Kilrush, Cottage 158 — €1,885,000

Cheapest property:

Station Road, Sixmilebridge — €8,000

Overall activity rose for the fourth successive year in Clare in 2014 with the number of property sales rising by an impressive 60%, with 960 homes sold in the county.

Such growth was also replicated in the value of property sales which saw a 63% jump — up €46.3m to €119.7m.

Construction activity gathered notabley, albeit from a small base, with the number of new homes sold in Clare last year more than doubling, with prices averaging €135,000.

Such growth patterns translated into an increase in the median price for all property types — up just over €3,000 to €102,075.

It was the first increase in average house prices in Clare since the Residential Property Price Register was introduced in 2010, but still far off that year’s figure of €166,000.

CORK

Number of properties sold:

4,292 (+42%)

Value of properties sold:

€792.9m (+42%)

Median price:

€151,000 (+3%)

Most expensive property:

1 Courtwood, Garryduff, Rochestown — €7,973,000

Cheapest property:

Pynes, Carrignacunna, Mallow — €5,357

It’s the country’s biggest property market after Dublin, but the overall performance in Cork last year was decidedly average.

Courtwood in Garryduff, Cork. A property there sold for €7,973,000.

Despite recording growth in all the main measures of transactions, value, and average prices, the rate of increase was relatively poor in contrast to many other regions.

Cork slipped to the fifth most expensive county in Ireland in terms of average house prices during 2014, having been overtaken by Meath for the first time in many years.

On a more positive note, the median price of all properties sold in Cork last year increased by €4,000 to €151,000 — the first time average prices increased in the post-boom period.

The cost of new homes, which would predominantly be located near Cork City and commuter towns, improved more significantly — up €15,425 to €180,000.

Overall, the value of Cork’s property sales in 2014 rose by 42% to almost €800m — the fifth lowest rate of growth in the country.

Although the number of properties bought and sold in Cork increased by 42.5% to almost 4,300, such growth was actually slightly below the national average.

DONEGAL

Number of properties sold:

1,082 (+55%)

Value of properties sold:

€104.8m (+52%)

Median price:

€82,000 (-1%)

Most expensive property:

Moorfield Lodge, Aughnagaddy Glebe, Ramelton — €710,000

Cheapest property:

Cloghan, Glencolmcille — €5,079

House sales activity has more than doubled in Donegal since 2011 but it has done nothing to halt a downward trend in average property prices in the county.

Donegal was one of eight counties to buck the national trend by seeing the general level of house prices continue to fall.

In the case of the north-west corner of Ireland, the median price of all houses sold in 2014 fell by 1% to €82,000 — making Donegal the fifth cheapest county for housing in the Republic.

In contrast, the median price of housing in Donegal stood at €145,400 five years ago.

Last year’s decrease was wholly attributable to a fall in the price of new homes as the average price of second-hand homes in Donegal remained unchanged at €80,000.

On the plus side, the level of new housing coming on the market in Donegal almost doubled, with 150 new properties sold. It was one of the busiest counties in Ireland last year in terms of new builds, with only the greater Dublin region, Cork, and Galway recording higher sales of new homes.

DUBLIN

Number of properties sold:

13,217 (+36%)

Value of properties sold:

€4.95bn (+51%)

Median price:

€265,000 (+13%)

Most expensive property:

Block F K And L Central Park, Leopardstown — €86,365,000

Cheapest property:

59 Strand Rd, Sandymount, Dublin 4 — €5,419

59 Strand Rd, Sandymount, Dublin.

Ireland’s property market is often regarded as a two-tier entity with Dublin seeming to have a distinct identity separate from the rest of the country.

However, the picture is more nuanced as the analysis of 2014 figures from the Residential Property Price Register shows the capital’s surrounding counties experienced house prices growing at a faster pace than Dublin itself.

Contrary to what one might suspect from media reports, the 13.5% increase in the median price of all houses and apartments sold in the city last year was only the fifth highest rate of growth nationwide. When one allows for the impact of the sale (twice) of three large apartment blocks in Leopardstown for €86m and €70m, the growth is even less impressive.

The figure represents a €31,000 jump in the space of 12 months to bring average prices of a residential property in Dublin to €265,000.

Far more dramatic was the increase in the median price of new homes in the city — up from just under €182,000 in 2013 to €295,000 last year — the kind of figures which gave rise to fears about a fresh property bubble in Dublin.

In contrast, the increase in the average price of second-hand homes in the city was more modest — up €20,000 to €260,000.

Although in terms of performance, the 36% increase in the number of property transactions in Dublin last year is impressive, it was nevertheless one of the lowest rates of growth anywhere in Ireland.

Included in the total sales of 13,217 properties in Dublin in 2014 were 1,583 new homes — a welcome increase in a bid to tackle the city’s chronic housing shortage.

Such transactions of new and second-hand homes generated sales totalling more than €4.95bn — an increase of 51% on 2013 figures — out of national sales of just under €9bn.

Graph showing the number of houses sold from 2010 to 2014. Dublin is ahead of the rest of the country.

GALWAY

Number of properties sold:

2,194 (+50%)

Value of properties sold:

€360.5m (+49%)

Median price:

€140,394 (+4%)

Most expensive property:

Bun Na Leaca, Newcastle — €1,640,000

Cheapest property:

Apartment 8 Cahercourt, Loughrea — €8,000

Apartment 10 Cahercourt, Loughrea — €8,000

Like Cork and Limerick, it’s always hard to interpret the performance of Galway’s property market as it contains a mixture of urban and rural housing, with each likely to have different trends.

Growth was recorded across all measurement types, yet were often just on par with the national average.

For the first time since 2010, when average house prices in Galway were €220,000, the county experienced a bounce in prices commanded by sellers.

The median price of all houses sold in the county rose by 4% to almost €140,400.

The value of properties sold in Galway last year increased by 50% to more than €360.5m, confirming Galway as the most valuable market after Dublin, Cork, and Kildare.

However, unlike those three counties, the cost of new houses in Galway is less than for second-hand homes.

There was a strong demand for new homes in the county in 2014 with 259 new properties sold — an increase of 76% over the previous year. The trade in second-hand homes was also robust with levels up 47% to 1,935 transactions.

KERRY

Number of properties sold:

1,105 (+36%)

Value of properties sold:

€145.5m (+28%)

Median price:

€111,400 (-7%)

Most expensive property:

Glounagillagh, Caragh Lake, Killorglin — €1,293,000

Cheapest property:

Banemore, Listowel — €10,000

Lisselton — €10,000

Carraig Island, Ballylongford — €10,000

Kerry is just one of a handful of counties which failed to arrest a slide in average house prices during 2014, despite a welcome pick-up in property market activity and a fourth successive year of growth.

The results are something of a conundrum, as the county was a star performer during the boom times when there was heightened interest in properties in Kerry from people seeking holiday homes.

Today, the picture is less rosy with the median prices of all properties sold in the Kingdom last year decreasing by 7.2%, or €8,600, to €111,400.

The decrease is attributable to the lower cost of new homes sold in Kerry last year compared to 2013 prices as the average cost of second-hand homes in the county was unchanged at €110,000.

Overall, despite the growth recorded in terms of transactions and their value, the performance of the Kerry property market in 2014 was comparatively weak.

The number of house sales rose by 36% — 7 points below the national average — to exceed 1,000 purchases for the first time in many years.

They generated sales worth €145.5m — an increase of 32% on 2013 figures but again one of the smallest growth rates experienced nationwide.

KILDARE

Number of properties sold:

1,720 (+36%)

Value of properties sold:

€407.8m (+54%)

Median price:

€213,500 (+19%)

Most expensive property:

1 Newton Hill House, Captains Hill House, Leixlip — €2,867,100

Cheapest property:

Station Road, Newbridge — €14,375

While all the industry and media scrutiny might be on soaring property prices in Dublin, Kildare actually recorded the largest increase in house prices anywhere in Ireland last year.

The results should not be too surprising as Kildare’s property market is in large parts an extension of the capital’s with commuter towns like Leixlip, Maynooth, Celbridge, and Naas popular locations to live for people working in the city but seeking relatively cheaper housing.

The median price of all residential properties sold in Kildare jumped by 18.6% — rising €33,500 in the space of 12 months to reach €213,500 — still a bargain compared to prices in Dublin. The national average was 6.1% and 0.4% if Dublin prices are excluded.

The growth was particularly stark in the cost of new homes with average prices rising by 45% — up almost €83,000 to €267,412. Such figures would suggest first-time buyers opting for Kildare because of the high cost of new homes in the capital.

Growth in prices of second-hand homes in Kildare was more sedate but still an impressive 11% — up €20,000 to €200,000 — although they are still below 2010 price levels.

The increase in the number of transactions was comparatively sluggish at 36% for a total of 1,720 sales — figures which hint at a shortage of properties for sale in some parts of the county, especially as the value of properties sold in Kildare last year was up 54% to €407.8m. The Kildare property market has now more than doubled in value since 2011.

Graph showing the value of properties sold, from 2010 to 2014. Kildare ranks third after Dublin and Cork in every year bar 2011 (fouth behind Galway)

KILKENNY

Number of properties sold:

636 (+45%)

Value of properties sold:

€89.4m (+47%)

Median price:

€116,669 (+1%)

Most expensive property:

4 The Inch, Mount Juliet, Thomastown — €1,400,000

Cheapest property:

Poyntz Lane, Kilkenny — €7,688

After two years where its house market was effectively static, business showed fresh signs of life in Kilkenny during 2014.

The overall number of sales grew by 45% with 636 transactions recorded –— almost doubling the level of activity witnessed just three years earlier.

There was a strong demand for new houses with sales of new properties up by 67%. New homes accounted for 1 in 6 of all sales in Kilkenny last year.

However, the cost of such housing was cheaper than in 2013 with average prices for new homes falling by around €9,300 to just over €103,600 — a far cry from when new homes commanded an average of €233,000 in 2010.

The market for second-hand properties in Kilkenny held firm with average prices up €4,000 to €120,000.

The average price of all house types in the county of €116,669 makes it the eighth most expensive location in the Republic for housing.

Overall growth patterns in Kilkenny were largely in line with national trends, with the value of properties sold up 47.1% to hit just under €90m.

LAOIS

Number of properties sold:

593 (+61%)

Value of properties sold:

€62.5m (+55%)

Median price:

€87,000 (+10%)

Most expensive property:

2 Fairways Two, Killenard — €560,000

Cheapest property:

7 Patrick Street, Mountmellick — €7,500

Three years of stagnation in Laois’s property market came to an end in 2014 with a strong burst in sales activity, coupled with a slight upward trend in prices.

Business picked up dramatically with the number of transactions growing by 61% as almost 600 sales were recorded during 2014 — doubling the market size since 2011.

The demand for new homes was particularly strong with 114 units being bought — more than double the figure sold the previous year — and generating sales of €11.4m.

Such demand led to rises in the cost of new homes in Laois, which averaged €85,000 last year — an increase of almost €6,700 on 2013 figures.

However, there was even stronger results for second-hand properties in the with median prices up €10,000 to €90,000.

Still the cheapest accommodation option for people content to work in Dublin but live outside the capital, despite long commuting times.

LEITRIM

Number of properties sold:

333 (+6%)

Value of properties sold:

€26.6m (+9%)

Median price:

€60,500 (-7%)

Most expensive property:

Priors Point, Carrick-On-Shannon — €431,000

Cheapest property:

36 Hyde Terrace, Mohill — €14,000

Leitrim is the only county in Ireland where activity levels in the property market have increased continuously every year since 2010… but that is about the only good news from the point of view of sellers and estate agents.

Property prices remain in the doldrums and fell back again during 2014.

The decline was entirely linked to prices achieved for new properties as second-hand homes in Leitrim held firm with the median price actually up €1,000 to €66,000

The fact that Leitrim is home to a proportionately high number of unfinished developments is clearly influencing the price of new housing in the county.

Where such homes could fetch almost €155,000 back in 2010, last year they dipped to just over €56,000 — down from almost €70,000 just 12 months earlier.

It means the price of property in the least populous county is the cheapest in Ireland with the exception of its neighbour, Longford.

Leitrim was also one of only two counties (with Roscommon) to record a fall in the number of new homes sold in 2014. In addition, the 15% increase in the number of second-hand houses sold in Leitrim was the lowest growth rate of any county.

Overall the number of property transactions grew by just 6% compared to a national average of 43%. Only Monaghan saw a lower level of sales activity, with just 333 properties sold in Leitrim last year.

Combined sales figures were also muted, leaving Leitrim with the least valuable property market in Ireland in 2014 with sales of just €26.6m.

LIMERICK

Number of properties sold:

1,512 (+76%)

Value of properties sold:

€189m (+51%)

Median Price:

€100,000 (-18%)

Most expensive property:

Kilmoyle House, North Circular Road, Limerick — €1,100,000

Cheapest property:

73 Byrne Ave, Limerick — €8,000

Glensharrold, Carrickerry — €8,000

By normal standards, the Limerick property market turned in a stellar performance in 2014, with some of the highest growth levels for sales activity in the country.

A total of 1,512 new and second-hand homes were sold in the county last year, representing a growth rate of 76% — the third highest in the Republic.

Overall sales figures totalled almost €189m last year — up 51% in a performance that closely mirrors the national average.

However, Limerick also recorded the biggest drop in average house prices anywhere in Ireland last year — down a dramatic 17.6% or €21,300 to €100,000.

It is the only county to experience a fifth consecutive year where the median price of both new and second-hand homes fell and one which sets Limerick at odds with trends almost everywhere else.

One possible explanation why Limerick might be experiencing a different price pattern compared to most other parts of Ireland last year is the balance between sales in Limerick city and the rural parts of the county.

The figures would suggest that greater activity levels year-on-year might be outside urban areas where prices are traditionally lower. However, the trend certainly requires anexplanation which falls outside the scope of this analysis.

LONGFORD

Number of properties sold:

398 (+76%)

Value of properties sold:

€28.7m (+78%)

Median price:

€55,000 (-8%)

Most expensive property:

Cluain Caonach, Kenagh — €565,230

Cheapest property:

Grill Inn, Edgeworthstown — €9,000

Quite a mixed set of results is the story of Longford’s property market in the course of 2014.

It turned in the biggest growth figures in terms of the number of property sales, although such a performance must take account of that fact it comes from a very small base.

Just under 400 transactions were concluded in 2014 in Longford — a figure which translates as a growth rate of 76%, which shows just how fallow the sector was in recent years, including a low of 131 in 2011.

They included sales of 76 new homes which represented a doubling of demand for new housing units. New homes account for 1 in 5 of all property sales in Longford — one of the highest ratios in the country.

Naturally, such a level of activity also translated into strong growth figures in terms of the value of the market. Combined sales totalled €28.7m which while amounting to an annual increase of 78% still leaves Longford the second smallest property market by value after Leitrim.

Movement in house prices was firmly downward with the average cost falling by €5,000 to €55,000 , confirming Longford as the location of Ireland’s cheapest housing.

True bargain hunters should stick to second-hand properties in the county, where average prices fell even further to €52,500.

LOUTH

Number of properties sold:

1,082 (+51%)

Value of properties sold:

€146.5m (+51%)

Median price:

€119,750 (+4%)

Most expensive property:

Rosehall, Killineer, Drogheda — €900,000

Cheapest property:

Bingham Cottage, Dundalk Road, Ardee — €15,000

Louth is another county for which 2014 arrested several years of falling demand for property and saw a resurgence in house-buying activity.

The number of house sales broke the 1,000 figure for the first time in many years while their value also went up by 51% to reach €146.5m — a growth rate broadly in line with the national average.

There was a commensurate pick-up in the sale of new homes which were up 77% to 149 units surpassing levels recorded in 2010 — something of a benchmark for judging how well individual counties are performing.

Demand for new homes was strongest in Louth’s main urban centres — Dundalk, Drogheda, and Ardee which explains why their average price jumped by 18.2% to over €147,000 — an increase of €22,600.

Price increases in second-hand homes were more muted, but the overall median price for all property types in Louth last year was up 4.1% to €119,750.

All this leaves Louth as the seventh most expensive location for housing in the country — a fact explained in part by the southern end of the county forming part of Dublin’s extensive commuter belt.

MAYO

Number of properties sold:

950 (+77%)

Value of properties sold:

€99.5m (+56%)

Median price:

€85,000 (-11%)

Most expensive property:

Carramore, Liscarney, Westport — €975,000

Cheapest property:

Barrack Street, Charlestown — €10,000

Pulathomas, Ballina — €10,000

Data on property sales in Mayo suggests locals suddenly discovered the pastime of house-buying again.

After several years of little activity with no major changes, Mayo’s property market positively sparked into life in terms of activity levels in 2014.

The number of sales went up from 536 in 2013 to 950 last year — a 77.2% increase which was the highest growth rate of any county.

Included in those figures was a doubling in the number of sales of new homes, which totalled 118 units.

Such activity generated sales of €99.5m, which represented a 55.6% increase on the previous year’s figures.

However, unlike some other regions, the strong demand did not result in upward pressure on house prices.

The median price of all homes sold in Mayo in 2014 actually fell by 10.5% — down €10,000 to €85,000 — and the second biggest rate of decrease in average house prices after Limerick.

MEATH

Number of properties sold:

1,523 (+57%)

Value of properties sold:

€297.3m (+73%)

Median price:

€165,000 (+15%)

Most expensive property:

3 Colpe Dr, Deepforde, Dublin Rd, Drogheda — €1,285,000

Cheapest property:

New Scapemanus, Navan — €15,000

Meath was one of the star performers in the property league in 2014 with growth recorded across all the main measurements.

It was the busiest year for house sales in the Royal County in recent times with more than 1,500 homes changing hands.

Such sales generated a 73% increase in turnover to €297.3m.

Somewhat surprisingly, Meath is nonetheless edged out by Wicklow as the fifth most valuable property market in the Republic, despite notably lower levels of house sales in the latter county.

Average house prices rose by 15.1%, or €21,62,0 to €165,000, making Meath the fourth most expensive housing location after Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare.

The only slight black mark on Meath’s stellar performance was a 2% decline in the median price of new homes — a drop of €3,525 to €181,600.

MONAGHAN

Number of properties sold:

314 (+40%)

Value of properties sold:

€33m (+54%)

Median price:

€85,000 (+10%)

Most expensive property:

Ascail Rois, Carrickmacross — €1,957,875

Cheapest property:

Apt 3, Russel Court, Market Rd, Monaghan — €15,921

With just 314 homes sold last year, Monaghan had the quietest property market in the country last year.

But if those figures seem poor, the fact that they also represent a 40% increase on activity levels in 2013 shows just how torpid the state of Monaghan’s housing sector has been for some time, including a record low of 116 sales in 2011.

In value terms, the situation is marginally better, with sales worth €33m generated last year, representing a 54% increase and surpassing 2010 levels.

Despite the low level of business, overall purchase prices showed some sign of life, being up 9.7% in 2014.

The median price of all properties sold in Monaghan went up €7,500 to €85,000, while the average price of new homes edged close to €100,000.

OFFALY

Number of properties sold:

482 (+56%)

Value of properties sold:

(€57.4m (+77%)

Median price:

€100,000 (+16%)

Most expensive property:

Prospect House, Cransallagh, Ballycumber — €530,000

Cheapest property:

3 Cypress Grove, Birr — €11,000

Like many other counties, the performance of the property market in Offaly makes 2014 a golden year in terms of recent history.

General activity and prices achieved from sales marked a distinct turnaround in the state of the property sector in the county.

Unlike several of its adjoining neighbours in the Midlands, Offaly turned in a strong set of results, with the number of transactions up 56% to 482 — a five-year peak by some distance.

The growth in the value of such sales was even more impressive — up 77.4% to €57.4m — the second highest growth rate in the country after Longford.

Such a positive trend also carried through into rising prices with the cost of an average home in Offaly in 2014 up €13,500 to €100,000. It represented an annual increase of 15.6%, which again was the second highest rate achieved last year (after Kildare).

However, one note of concern might be the low level of new homes to have come on the market last year — just 40. Although that was three more properties than the previous year, it still represented the lowest number of new homes sold in any county in 2014.

ROSCOMMON

Number of properties sold:

513 (+4%)

Value of properties sold:

€40.3m (+1%)

Median price:

€62,500 (-4%)

Most expensive property:

Payne House, Tulsk — €375,000

Cheapest property:

Graffogue, Strokestown — €7,000

The positive mood that swept through the property sector in most parts of the country last year seems to have bypassed Roscommon.

Overall sales were virtually static, with just 19 extra properties sold in 2014 compared to the previous year. It represented growth of just 3.8% in the number of sales in Roscommon, compared to the national average of 43.2%.

Roscommon was one of only two counties which also failed to see evidence of increased activity in the construction industry, as the number of new homes which sold declined in 2014 — down 40% to just 63 units.

Such results mean it’s no surprise that the value of property sales in the county last year showed an underwhelming growth rate of 1.4% — up just €563,000 to €40.3m.

The general lack of demand and inactivity had a negative effect on price with the average cost of properties in Roscommon dropping back 3.8% last year — down €2,500 to €62,500.

The median price of houses in Roscommon has now fallen by more than 50% in the space of five years, making the county the third cheapest location for housing in Ireland.

SLIGO

Number of properties sold:

661 (+67%)

Value of properties sold:

€80.3m (+77%)

Median price:

€96,475 (+5%)

Most expensive property:

5-8 Castle Street, Sligo — €837,004

Cheapest property:

Owenbeg, Culleens — €7,000

More properties were sold in Sligo last year than in 2010 and 2011 combined — a firm indication of the strength of the resurgence in the market in the capital of the north-west.

A total of 661 properties traded hands in Sligo in 2014, which represented growth rate of 67% on the previous year’s figures — one of the highest levels anywhere.

The pick-up in activity was spread evenly across the county between Sligo and other towns.

Although the increase in the number of new homes on the market was more modest at 56%, they still accounted for one in six of all properties sold in the county in 2014.

Again, some of the country’s highest growth rates in sales figures were recorded in Sligo, with the value of the market up 77% to €80.3m — the third best in Ireland.

Strong demand had a knock-on effect on prices, with the cost of property going up by just under 5% on average — an increase of €4,475 to €96,475.

The average price of new homes in the county was up 12% to €115,000.

TIPPERARY

Number of properties sold:

885 (+26%)

Value of properties sold:

€102m (+27%)

Median price:

€94,000 (+4%)

Most expensive property:

The Old Grove, Woodinstown, New Inn, Cahir — €665,700

Cheapest property:

9/10 Mitchells Street, Clonmel — €7,087

Although the county failed to match the spectacular performance in some other regions last year, property sales in Tipperary provide a welcome story of slow, steady growth.

There’s likely to be few complaints about the comparatively average set of results on house sales when 2014 marks the best year in some time for the local property scene in Tipperary.

A large county, with several large towns and a sizeable rural population, means care needs to be taken with the interpretation of some findings.

In contrast to many parts of Ireland, the rise in the number of property transactions in Tipperary was below average at 26.1% with the sale of 885 homes — an increase of 183 on 2013 figures.

For a county its size, the 73 new homes sold suggest a lot of uncertainty still hangs over the local construction sector, especially when one considers the number is three fewer new homes than were sold in either Carlow or Longford last year.

The value of all property sales effectively matched the increase in the number of houses sold – up 27% to €102m.

The extra demand, albeit of a small nature, translated into a 4.4% rise in the median price of properties sold in Tipperary last year – up €4,000 to €94,000.

While the average price of new homes in the county rose by 13.5% to 96,000, they have still fallen by almost 50% since 2010 – a perspective of how much ground the property market in Tipperary still has to recover.

WATERFORD

Number of properties sold:

1.042 (+49%)

Value of properties sold:

€131m (+53%)

Median price:

€98,500 (+2%)

Most expensive property:

Woodlock House, Portlaw — €1,100,000

Cheapest property:

5 Lower Sion Row, Ferrybank — €7,000

The property market performance in Waterford in 2014 was largely positive with a major rebound in sales activity, although prices have remained effectively static.

The good news is that with total sales of 1,042 last year, the country recorded more transactions than in all of 2011 and 2012 combined, although the growth rate of 49% was still comparatively average by national standards. Nevertheless, it is the fifth year in a row in which sales activity has recorded growth.

Although still an increase on 2013 figures, sales of new homes were noticeably weak, with just 70 properties sold — with only Leitrim, Offaly, and Roscommon selling fewer last year.

Demand for second-hand homes in the Deise was considerably stronger and almost broke through the 1,000 figure for the first time since the economic crash of 2008.

Another positive sign is that the annual value of property sales in Waterford shot up by 53.3% last year to almost €131m, considering it remained between €70m and €85m since 2010.

However, Waterford suffered the biggest fall of any county in the price of new homes which were down almost 21% or €26,795 to €102,718. Because of the relatively small number of properties affecting the price of new homes in the county, the scale of the decrease could be explained by the ratio of houses to apartments and urban and rural properties being different to the previous year.

But, even excluding the effect of new houses, the scale of price increases for second-hand homes was somewhat sluggish at just 2.4% — up €2,250 to €97,250.

WESTMEATH

Number of properties sold:

870 (+67%)

Value of properties sold:

€95.4m (+65%)

Median price:

€95,000 (+6%)

Most expensive property:

Sallymount House, Fore, Castlepollard — €950,000

Cheapest property:

128 Meadowbrook,Willow Park, Athlone East — €11,000

129 Meadowbrook,Willow Park, Athlone East — €11,000

Although part of the Midlands region which has suffered the worst during the property crash, the local property market in Westmeath has weathered the recession better than most.

The county’s proximity to Dublin and the large urban centres of Athlone and Mullingar have probably helped to cushion Westmeath from the scale of the downturn experienced by many of its neighbours to the west.

Last year was particularly strong, with sales activity up around 67% for both new and second-hand homes — the fourth highest growth rate in the Republic.

It generated in turn an extra €37.7m in sales for an annual total of €95.4m.

While average house prices are still not back at 2012 levels, they are turning in the right direction with the cost of housing up by 6.2% on average — an increase of €5,500 to bring the median price of property in the county to €95,000 in 2014. The rise in the average cost of new homes was more spectacular — up almost 17% or €16,595 to €116,475.

WEXFORD

Number of properties sold:

1,412 (+45%)

Value of properties sold:

€179.6m (+55%)

Median price:

€112,000 (+12%)

Most expensive property:

Clonganny House, Ballygarrett, Gorey — €897,750

Cheapest property:

21 High Hill, New Ross — €8,000

Even during the worst of the property crash of recent years, the Wexford property market has shown considerable resilience.

Its twin strengths have always been several large towns, including Wexford, Gorey and Enniscorthy, combined with a steady demand for holiday homes in rural areas, with Wexford a perennial favourite with Dubliners seeking a weekend bolthole within a relative short commuting distance from the capital.

Despite such factors to cushion the blows of the recession, Wexford had still experienced a steady downturn in sales activity until 2013.

Last year marked a strong return to growth in terms of the number of property sales and their value for both new and second-hand homes.

Overall transactions were up 45.1% to 1,412 sales, with an even bigger growth in demand for new properties.

Sales turnover was up 55% to almost €180m, with the value of sales of new houses almost doubling.

The rise in average house prices in Wexford was also double the national average at 12% — up €12,000 to €112,000. However, the median price of new homes soared by a massive 47.5%, or jut over €43,000, to almost €134,000.

Despite its strong demand and popular choice as a location, Wexford is still only the 10th most expensive county in which to live in Ireland.

WICKLOW

Number of properties sold:

1,273 (+39%)

Value of properties sold:

€345.6m (+45%)

Median price:

€225,000 (+14%)

Most expensive property:

Boystown House, Boystown — €4,925,000

Cheapest property:

Ballinglen, Tinahely — €6,250

Overall growth levels in the Wicklow property market were good in 2014, if not exactly as dynamic as elsewhere.

But that’s probably no great issue for such a mature market whose northern part forms part of Dublin’s hinterland with satellite towns such as Bray and Enniskerry, although the rest of the county once in from the coast is distinctly rural.

Throughout recent years, the price of property in Wicklow has escaped the major fluctuations experienced in many other counties.

Overall business showed steady growth in 2014 with the number of sales up 39.3% to 1,273 homes, with a particularly strong rise in demand for new housing.

Although the number of properties sold in Wexford last year exceeded those in Wicklow, the strength of the property market in the Garden County is exemplified by the fact that the value of such sales was still almost twice that of its neighbour.

Last year saw sales up 44.8% to €345.6m, which was also greater than the combined values of properties sold in Wicklow in 2011 and 2012. Such strong demand saw average prices rise by 13.8% to €225,000 — an annual increase of €27,250 — which confirms Wicklow as the second most expensive county for residential property after Dublin.

A possible element of Dublin residents moving across the border in the pursuit of more affordable housing could explain why the median price for second-hand homes in Wicklow jumped by a whopping €39,000, or 20.4%, to €230,000.

Check out all the data used in the formulation of this report in 'Tableau' format here.

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