THE property slump has affected Laois so savagely, that the county now ranks as one of the cheapest for house prices anywhere in the State and has recorded one of the sharpest declines in planning applications, with less people than ever applying to build houses.
The latest figures released by daft.ie show that the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Laois currently stands at €33,701, the lowest recorded figure across all counties. The same sized property in the heart of Dublin costs around €116,575, while even the neighbouring county of Offaly shows a marked difference to Laois with the cost of a one-bedroom apartment around €47,996.
Moving up to a two-bedroom terraced house, the average asking price locally is €45,087. Only Roscommon (€44,752) and Leitrim (€44,698) recorded lower prices. A three-bedroom semi-detached in Laois costs €61,036, which again is the lowest figure in the State. A four-bedroom bungalow is €124,445, the lowest in the State, while a five-bedroom detached is €155,893. Once again, only Roscommon (€143,108) and Leitrim (€142,938) recorded a lower figure for a five-bedroom detached, which puts Laois in the top three counties for reduced cost properties.
The report also found that in Laois, prices in early 2013 were 20% lower than a year previously, compared to a fall of 18% seen in the year to March 2012. The average house price is now €93,000, 62% below peak levels.
Meanwhile, the latest edition of the National Housing Construction Index issued by Link2Plans shows a continuing decline in planning applications and housing construction activity across Laois.
One key finding in the research is that planning applications in Laois have decreased by 32% this year from the same period in 2012. Therefore after Offaly (48%), Limerick (39%) and Wexford (36%), Laois ranks joint with Carlow as having the fourth sharpest percentage drop in planning applications made this period compared to this time last year. Project commencements have fallen by 18%, which is above the 14% national average.
While the last index reported a growing number of planning applications in one county only (Donegal), the latest figures show a marked increase in 11 countries with Roscommon (65%), Leitrim (67%) and Monaghan (75%) showing the biggest rise.