“Letterkenny needs at least 100 new homes per year while self-build applications are on the rise in Donegal”

More and more people are looking to finance their own self build projects in rural Donegal while in more urbanised areas demand for housing continues to exceed supply.

#Build17 estate agent Gareth McLarnon from Glen Estates said rental fees continue to rise in the town while less and less properties are becoming available.

The most recent Property Price Register figures show a 13% drop in the number of properties being sold in Donegal compared to last year.

There were 1,328 house sales 2016 in Donegal compared with 1,501 house sales during 2015.

Mr McLarnon said: “While more people appear to be in a position to buy homes and finance has become more accessible from lenders, house sales have decreased purely because of a lack of available stock.

“I estimate that there is currently a demand for 100 new homes per annum in the greater Letterkenny area over the next two years at least.

“At the moment we are seeing a shortage of both properties for sale and more recently rental properties, where rents have increased by 20% since this time last year.”

Jim McLaughlin, Branch Manager, AIB Letterkenny said that outside of Letterkenny and Inishowen, the “predominant mortgage requests are for one-off self builds”.

Mr McLaughlin said AIB – which is supporting the #Build17 expo at Watson Hire on Saturday, February 18 – is seeing a strong level of mortgage enquiries and approvals.

“But clients are citing difficulties in securing suitable property to purchase as the main reason for not progressing to drawdown,” he added.

Mr McLaughlin said the recent easing of mortgage restrictions and the Help to Buy scheme for first time buyers has however led to increased activity.

“Difficulties remain though for young couples that have previously owned small properties/apartments with little or no equity and wish to upgrade to a family home. The 20% deposit requirement for these clients is a major issue”.

Against this backdrop, Mr McLaughlin said self-build mortgages were now attracting very strong interest.

“The biggest demand in Donegal is understandably in the Letterkenny catchment area where well located four bed detached family homes are top of the shopping list. Inishowen appears to still have some capacity to deliver starter homes from housing stock but elsewhere the predominant mortgage requests are for one off self-builds. AIB has reduced rates four times in the past two years for new and existing mortgage customers and now offers the lowest standard variable rate in the market.”

Mr McLaughlin added: “We are looking forward to the opportunity to speak to prospective self-builders at the #Build17 event and those renovating or improving their homes to illustrate the mortgage and loan options that AIB have available” .