THE pandemic has been cited as one of the reasons for high demand for rural property in ‘friendly Fermanagh’.
Latest figures reveal a rise in house prices here, but there is also a shortage of property with demand vastly outstripping supply.
According to the House Price Index figures, there was a rise of 1.7 percent on the quarter in the Fermanagh and Omagh area, and a 10.1 percent rise on the year.
Local estate agent, Niall Smyth, from Smyth Leslie, said demand for rural properties in particular was being driven by those seeking ‘a new way of life’ in Fermanagh.
“This applies to Fermanagh people who moved away and would like to return home, as well other people just wanting to move here to retire or enjoy a new way of life,” he told the ‘Herald.
The pandemic has played a major role in driving demand, he added, with people seeing the new work-from-home culture as an opportunity to move home to the county.
Mr Smyth also said those moving here from, England, for example, were impressed by the quality of life.
“It’s the friendly atmosphere they get here, where everybody is very generous towards them in terms of their time, and they really do appreciate that,” he stated.
“I think it’s one our selling points, that friendly nature that we have about us.”
However, Mr Smyth said a “happy medium” is required to stop local people being priced out.
“We continue to have a shortage of new build properties, which tend to encourage people to sell up and buy a new build.
“So the availability of properties coming onto the market is quite limited at times, in relation to demand.”
Mr Smyth added, “We would be keen to see a balance in terms of local people wanting to stay within their own villages and communities.
“At the moment, because of the property shortage, it is quite difficult for local people to be able to satisfy their needs in terms of being able to get a property that suits their family situation. That is continuing to be a problem because planning is quite restrictive.
“Also, on top of that, lenders are quite restrictive on new builds in the countryside.
“As time goes on we could find we’re going to have more of an issue of people wanting to remain where they are.”
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