Given its location, it was inevitable that Portarlington would become a commuter town maintains local auctioneer Matt Dunne of Matt Dunne & Associates RICS, SCSI Auctioneers/Estate Agents, Portarlington.
“If you were to tie a piece of string to the Spike in O’Connell Street and run it like a plumb line in an arc around Dublin for 45 miles, it would take in places like Ardee, Kells, Kinnegad, Edenderry, Portarlington, Athy, Carlow and Gorey but the place that has undoubtedly the best transport services to the Capital is Portarlington,” maintains Matt.
“With 26 trains daily from Portarlington to Dublin and the M7 motorway only 4 miles away guarantees the commuter a fantastic service and the duration only 45 minutes!”
Of course, being local Matt Dunne might be a bit biased. He is the second generation of his family to work in the Auctioneering business.
His father Peter founded the company in the 1969 and encouraged Matt to change from his Business Studies course to Auctioneering/Estate Agency.
By October 1984 Matt had taken over the business and since then has sold thousands of properties all over the midlands, even a pub in Sneem Co Kerry.
He is candid about the difficulties faced by himself and many others in the business since the property boom went bust.
“At one stage we had 80 to 90 daily transactions as agents for Permanent TSB so our offices were always humming.
“Between 1984 and 1994 36 new houses were built in Portarlington, between 1994 and 2004 over 2,000 new residential units were built in the town – that shows you the level of activity.”
At the height of the boom a three bedroom semi detached house in Portarlington sold for €245,000 and Matt Dunne was selling five per week.
Recently he sold one of the same houses for €85,000 and he maintains that now is a good time to buy property.
“Deposit Interest rates are low, people won’t earn any interest if they invest money in a bank, but property is going to increase in value making this a fantastic time to buy,” he says.
He sold 16 properties in the past six weeks, a feat he hasn’t achieved since 2006 – of the buyers 50% were cash purchasers, 25% borrowed from their credit union (max €50k) and 25% borrowed from banks (90% of the purchase price).
“I really believe the tide has turned. It was very, very difficult for a few years. In the boom time we employed a staff of ten, now it is two.
“It took two years for me personally to recover psychologically from what happened. It was devastating to go from a high of multi million euro deals to only one or two people calling into the office per day,” admits Matt.
But he believes the first steps to recovery have been taken and that the future is bright.
Vendors are now realistic about what they can achieve in this market and if its priced properly Matt will sell it within 4-5 weeks. If you drive around Portarlington at present you can start to see the Sale Agreed / Sold signs going up all over the place .
“I’m looking forward to the future now” says Matt “ and showing people the marvellous attributes that Portarlington and its environs has to offer.”
Matt Dunne & Associates Services
• Residential (New and Second Hand Homes)
• Commercial (Specialists in Pub Sales)
• Agricultural (Land Auctions and Sites)
• We provide written valuations for mortgage, probate, taxation, insurance and asset valuation purposes for residential, commercial, land and rentals.
• We are on the valuation panel of various banking and financial institutions.
• We also act as valuers for county councils.
We look after finding tenants for landlords in the Laois/Offaly area.
We have an In-house financial consultant in relation to mortgage finance.
Hours: Monday - Friday 9am - 5.30pm. Lunch from (1 to 2 pm) After Hours by Appointment
Phone: 057 86 23349