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PRICE DROP Irish house prices could start to fall over next two to three years – but we must be prepared for economy overheating, Central Bank Governor warns  11 May 2018

The regulator told politicians at the Oireachtas Finance Committee there is now a 'material risk' that home valuations will go into reverse by 2020 or 2021

10th May 2018, 1:50 pm
Publication: Irish Sun
Author: Kieran Dineen, Public Affairs Correspondent

HOUSE prices are likely to begin to fall in price over the next two to three years, according to the Governor of the Central Bank.

Philip Lane also believes we need to be prepared for the economy overheating – which could hamper Leo Varadkar’s plans to reduce income taxes further.
Central Bank Governor Philip Lane
Central Bank Governor Philip Lane
At the Oireachtas Finance Committee, the regulator told politicians there is now a “material risk” that home valuations will go into reverse by 2020 or 2021.

And he said anyone thinking of buying a property now needs to bear this in mind.

Mr Lane said this was due to a buildup of housing coming on stream along with other global factors.

Senator Kieran O’Donnell asked him about the “escalation in the price of houses for starter homes” which are now “outside the gambit of the ordinary person”.
Mr Lane said there is now a ‘material risk’ that home valuations will go into reverse by 2020 or 2021
Mr Lane said there is now a ‘material risk’ that home valuations will go into reverse by 2020 or 2021
Mr Lane said he fully recognised the “affordability crisis in the housing market” and insisted: “The only answer is to further increase the supply of housing.”

He had earlier pointed out the projections of 23,500 new units in 2018 and 28,500 in 2019 are “below current estimated housing demand of 30,000-35,000 per annum outlined in Project Ireland 2040”.

But the Governor later revealed: “I do think there is a material risk of a reverse of house prices… as supply builds up that will put downward pressure on houses in coming years.

“This is why we have our mortgage rules, in order to stop excessive debt coming on at the wrong time. Only those financially prepared can take on a mortgage at the moment.”
Lane said anyone planning to take out a mortgage now and upgrading in a few years should ‘recognise that risk’
Lane said anyone planning to take out a mortgage now and upgrading
in a few years should ‘recognise that risk’
He believes the deposit and income rules for taking out mortgages are “beginning to bite more severely” which will help slow down the house market.

Pressed on a possible decline in house prices, Mr Lane told the committee: “If you are planning on taking out a mortgage now, and trading up in two or three years time, you need to recognise that risk.

“If you are planning to live in that house for a substantial period of time then that should not be a matter of overriding concern.

“The system is a lot more resilient now but I am troubled by the temptation that it is one direction only. Over time there will be a natural increase… it is not a one way bet.”

Residential property prices rise by 12.7% in year to March  11 May 2018

Official figures show property values are increasing by 12.1% in Dublin

Wed, May 9, 2018
Publication: Irish Times
Author: Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the most expensive Eircode area to buy a house is Dublin 4, with an average price of €762,913. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the most expensive Eircode area to buy a house is Dublin 4, with an average price of €762,913. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

The property market is showing no signs of cooling with prices accelerating by 12.7 per cent in the year to March. This compares to an annual increase of 12.5 per cent in February.
The latest official figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) are at odds with recent reports from property websites MyHome.ie and Daft.ie, which both reported a slowdown in headline inflation.
The CSO figures show annual price growth in Dublin, where demand is greatest, is now running at 12.1 per cent, down from 12.7 per cent the previous month.
The highest house price growth in the capital was in Dublin city, at 14.2 per cent while the lowest growth was in south Dublin, where house prices increased 9.6 per cent.
In Dublin, prices have risen by 90.8 per cent since the low point of the crash in February 2012, and are now 23 per cent off their 2007 peak.

The most expensive Eircode area to buy a house was Dublin 4, with an average price of €762,913. The CSO figures show the 10 most expensive Eircode areas by mean or average price were in Dublin.

Property prices in the Republic, excluding Dublin, were 13.4 per cent higher in the year to March.

The west region showed the greatest price growth, with house prices increasing 18 per cent while the Border region showed the least price growth, with house prices increasing 8.8 per cent.

Outside Dublin, the most expensive Eircode area to buy a home over the last 12 months was Greystones, Co Wicklow, with a mean price of €424,534 while the least expensive Eircode area was Ballyhaunis in Co Mayo, with a mean price of €75,415.

Responding to the latest price figures, Brokers Ireland warned that unless supply of properties ramps up more quickly in the near future a whole generation now in their late 20s and 30s, and even beyond, may never be able to recover the financial loss of not being able to acquire a home at an affordable price.

Rental Crises - A Ticking Timebomb  30 April 2018

By Philip Farrell – 1st May 2018 

The Irish rental market is a ticking time bomb akin to a Bond film, rolling down to zero however, in this instance there will no ‘007’ to save the day. We now have a situation where an ever increasing 34% of the Irish population are renting, some by choice, most by necessity. There are currently less than 3,000 properties available to rent in Ireland, just 0.15% of the total housing stock. Demand is at least four times that level. Rental values having increased over 65% in some urban areas over the last 4 years. Currently, less than 5% of newly constructed homes are being bought by investors. At the height of the Tiger’s roar, this figure exceeded 45%. So where are these rental properties going to come from? Take a regional town of 5,000 people. A town of this nature would have a demand for least 200 privately rented properties. Who is going to service this market in the future? Due to its’ fragmented nature, it holds no appeal for the large investor. Most one-off investments are now purchased with cash. Servicing a loan at rates north of 4% is simply a non-runner, in addition to paying income tax, USC, LPT and increasing RTB compliance costs. What this means is the only real potential upside for the investor is capital appreciation however, values have increased by up 50% in many urban areas over the last four years which will make investors more cautious when investing. 

The government recently announced that they had exceeded their 2017 target by housing 23,000 people. The devil is in the detail. Delve a little deeper, less than 1,000 new social homes were built in 2017 with a further 500 provided through Part V. 

Many people understandably have little or no sympathy for landlords, believing they played an integral part in both inflating house prices during the noughties, and the subsequent crash. Herein lies the problem. With property values currently increasing 10% per year, additional homes must be provided for the increasing number who cannot afford or secure a mortgage or the ever increasing number who simply choose to rent. 

It is a responsibility of government to provide housing for those who cannot secure a home. Our current rulers, in their wisdom, decided following the crash, that the private sector would deliver the homes needed. This was never going to happen. An industry which had been forced to take a long lunch (6 years) was always going to take some time to reinvent itself. On top of this there is the archaic planning process to contend with. The construction industry has returned to growth, but only in the large urban areas where values are now making it profitable again to build. 

‘Rebuilding Ireland’ was launched in mid-2016 by the government to much fanfare. While it can be applauded for success with the ‘Help to Buy Scheme’ and the introduction of fast track planning permissions, it has failed to deliver in a number of areas. At one point, ‘modular housing’ appeared to be the answer to all our prayers! This was short lived. The recent announcement of the home purchase scheme through local County Councils should be cautiously welcomed as it will only assist a small percentage of home buyers. Also, a note of caution, historically, similar type schemes have proven to accrue arrears issues. 

Rent controls have had varied success internationally. It is to early to say how they have fared since their introduction here in Dec 2016 however, they do not seem to have stemmed increases in average rents. A downside is they have punished many landlords who had a good relationship with their tenants, and this was reflected in the agreed rent. Many of these landlords are now leaving the market as they cannot legally charge the market rent once they are located in one of the 21 electoral Rent Pressure Zones (RPZ) 

Solutions? Two areas of focus - the supply side and the taxation side. As is now happening in the UK, the government must attract back the smaller, buy-to-let investor. Our cities will be well served by professional investors like REITs and pension funds for decades to come with large ‘Built to Rent’ type developments comprising of hundreds of rental properties is desirable areas which offer all day to day amenities, on-site. 

What about the regions? Incentives for the small-time investor should include lower income tax from rental income, extra allowances for capex (capital expenditure) and reduced CGT on exit, which currently stands at 33%. 

On the planning side, the level of social housing in Ireland currently stands at 10% of the total housing stock, with a further 24% of residential homes privately rented. This figure is higher in cities. In addition to Part V, introduce a requirement that 10% of the total number of units in new developments must be sold to private investors. Currently, investors cannot compete with the FTB for starter homes. For the FTB, this is to be welcomed however, for those requiring somewhere to rent, it is limiting their options. Some would claim that this move would just increase pressure on the FTB. To alleviate this, housing densities could be increased by one unit per acre, for a limited period. 

The rental market needs rental properties or else it is just a market! People need to recognise that landlords play a fundamental role in the property food chain and for those who find it hard to accept will need to accept them as a necessary evil.

MyHome.ie Q1 2018 Property Report in association with Davy  30 April 2018


Main Findings
  • Annual rate of house price inflation cools in Q1, as prices slow in Dublin
  • Asking prices nationally rise by 4.8% - in Dublin the figure is 3.3%
  • "Affordability is beginning to bite in Dublin, but outside the capital house price inflation is continuing to rise and now stands at 10% year on year"
  • Number of €1m plus house sales rose 25% in 2017


House prices are continuing to rise but the rate of increase is moderating due to tighter bank lending and stretched affordability in Dublin, according to the latest house price report from MyHome.ie.

The report, which is published in association with Davy, found that the prices of newly listed properties nationally rose by 4.8% in Q1 while prices in Dublin rose by 3.3%. Newly listed properties are seen as the most reliable indicator of future price movements.

The median asking price for new sales nationally is €260K while in Dublin it’s €345K. The figure for outside Dublin is €210K.

Nationally, asking prices are up 9.5% on the year, while in Dublin price inflation is 8.2%.

For the entire stock of properties listed for sale on the website prices rose by 1.9% nationally and by 1.8% in Q1.

The author of the report, Conall MacCoille, Chief Economist at Davy, said that while house price inflation would remain close to 10% outside Dublin for 2018, stretched affordability in the capital and a pick up in housing supply suggested the rate of inflation would continue to moderate.

"The tightening of the Central Bank mortgage lending rules coupled with stretched affordability was always likely to be first felt in Dublin. The house price -to-income ratio for first-time buyers in Dublin was 4:1 at the end of 2017 and this compares with 3.5:1 recorded in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford."

"Inflation in Dublin is now 8.2%, down from just over 11% in Q4 2017. The cooling off is already evident in more expensive areas and property types. The median asking price in Dublin South City was flat year on year at €275K but was up 12.8% in Dublin North City to €225K. The median one-bedroom apartment price in Dublin increased by 13% over the past 12 months to €190K; in contrast four-bedroom detached house prices have been flat at €650K."

"The other key trend we are seeing is that house supply is finally picking up. Although the number of properties listed nationally on MyHome.ie is largely unchanged at 18,800 the number of properties in Dublin is 3,900, up 20% on last year"

"Furthermore, the number of new developments on MyHome has increased to 423, up 24% on the 342 recorded in mid-2017. While two thirds of these developments are in the greater Dublin area there has also been a sharp increase in some other areas – in Cork for example the number is 64, up 68% on mid-2017. Although moving in the right direction the current level of homebuilding – circa 12,000 per annum – remains well short of the natural demographic demand of at least 35,000 each year MacCoille concluded.

The Managing Director of MyHome.ie Angela Keegan said that while first time buyers would continue to be concerned at the rate of inflation, there were some positive trends in the new figures.

"Transactions levels are up 10% in the first two months of the year and at this stage we would be predicting an 11% increase on last year’s figure of 54,000. Given that the level of transactions was 18,400 in 2011 it is encouraging to see that we should be in or around the 60,000 mark this year."

"Meanwhile activity at the very top end of the market shows little sign of slowing down. Our analysis of the Property Price Register shows that the number of house sales above €1m rose to 826 in 2017, up 25% on the previous year. There are currently 506 properties with an asking price exceeding €1m listed for sale on MyHome.ie" Keegan said.


Download Report

BREAKING...Mortgage approvals fall 8pc in March  30 April 2018

Journalist : Ellie Donnelly
Publication: Irish Independent  
The number of mortgages approved fell by 8pc year-on-year in March, according to data from the Banking and Payments Federation.

Mortgages approved in March 2018 were valued at €763m – of which first time buyers accounted for €390m (51.1pc) and €234m (30.7pc) by mover purchasers.

Overall, the value of mortgage approvals fell by 2.9pc year-on-year, but rose by 10.4pc when comparing month-on-month.

The decline in approvals was impacted by bad weather, reduced supply and and new lending rules.

In addition, according to Dermot O’Leary, chief economist with Goodbody, March 2018 figures came off a very tough comparison in the first three months of 2017 when mortgage approvals increased by 77pc year-on-year.

"Annual comparisons will become easier as the year progresses," Mr O'Leary said.

Drawdowns

Despite the cooling, the trend in drawdowns remained strong in the first quarter of 2018.

The value of loans drawn down in the first three months of 2018 was up 22pc year-on-year, almost matching the fourth quarter 2017 growth rate of 23pc year-on-year.

This is made up of a 14pc year-on-year increase in mortgage volumes and an 8pc increase in the average loan. Remortgaging, up 59pc year-on-year, was the fastest growing component by far, reflecting increased competition and rising levels of equity in the system.

Overall remortgaging accounted for 13pc of new lending, the highest level since 2009. While first-time buyer drawdowns increased by 29pc year-on-year.

Restrictions for first time buyers

While a quarter of first time buyers received exemptions from the Loan-to-Income ratio threshold of 3.5 times income in 2017, under new lending rules, this is now restricted to one in five first time buyers.

"Lack of available housing stock remains the major issue holding back faster growth in mover-purchaser mortgages," Mr O'Leary said.

"This is reflected the widening gap between mortgage approvals and drawdowns over the past twelve months."

Buying a new home in 2018? Here's what's coming  30 April 2018

Our new homes listing of schemes in Dublin and its environs indicates improved supply, but rising prices will drive first time buyers into commuter counties

Stamp duty increase fails to slow commercial property growth  30 April 2018

JLL index finds overall returns of nearly 11% in the past year, as market stabilises

Wed, Apr 18, 2018, 06:15

Ireland’s commercial property market continues to report stable growth as the JLL Property Index, to be released on Wednesday, shows that overall returns increased by 2.7 per cent in the last three months and by 10.7 per cent over the last year.
The good results are all the more surprising as the market has had to absorb the effects of a stamp duty increase in December.
Capital values grew by 1.5 per cent in the last quarter and by 5.5 per cent over the past 12 months. The growth was predominantly led by the industrial sector. The capital value index has increased by 90.4 per cent since the trough in 2013 but remains 37.5 per cent below the peak in 2007.
Overall income increased by 2.1 per cent in the last three months. The index portfolio showed an income yield of 4.6 per cent across all sectors.
Rental values across the index portfolio increased by 1.7 per cent in the last three months and by 7.5 per cent in the last 12 months. Offices have had the greatest increases over the last 12 months (up 9.6 per cent) followed by retail (up 5.6 per cent) and industrial (up 3.7 per cent).
John Moran, JLL’s head of investment, said the index had shown steady performance in the first months of 2018. It had reverted to normal growth following the stamp duty increase in the last months of 2017, which virtually cancelled out capital growth in the previous quarter.
Investors had achieved strong overall returns, increasing by 10.7 per cent in the year to March 2018, and the yield remained steady at 4.6 per cent. Of particular note was the strong growth in industrial capital values, which was primarily a result of strong occupier market fundamentals.

Irish House Price Report Q1 2018 | Daft.ie  30 April 2018

The figures in this latest Daft.ie Sales Report are unlikely to surprise many who have an interest in the housing market. Comparing prices in the first three months of 2018 with those in the final three months of 2017, they rose in 53 of the 54 markets covered in the report, with only Monaghan recording a slight fall. Compared with prices a year ago, only Donegal has seen a fall.
It is, in other words, a market that continues to see almost across-the-board strong increases in prices. Looking at the national average, the annual rate of inflation was 7.3% in the first quarter of the year. The optimist will point out that this is the slowest rate of inflation in almost two years.

However, in a healthy housing system, housing prices increase at the same rate as prices in the rest of the economy, no faster. According to the official measure of the price level, general prices in the Irish economy are no higher now, in early 2018, than they were five years ago. This is a remarkable achievement in recovering the lost cost competitiveness of the Celtic Tiger years. It is all the more remarkable considering that one of the single largest components of the CPI is private rents - so in truth, leaving the housing market aside, consumer prices in Ireland have fallen over the past five years.
In the same time, though, the purchase price of housing has risen by one half, on average. In Dublin the increase is slightly above 60%, outside urban areas, the increase is closer to 40%. But overall, this is a collection of geographical markets more defined by their similarities than their differences.
The reason that prices are rising is not complicated: the growth in demand far exceeds the growth in supply. The fundamental barometer of a healthy housing system is that, where new demand occurs, new supply follows quickly. This should be true for the housing system as a whole - i.e. both market and social housing segments. But a closer look at the figures reveals just how dysfunctional Ireland's housing system is.

Turning to demand, first, Ireland's population is rising by over 50,000 people a year. About two-thirds of that increase - between 30,000 and 35,000 - is down to a natural increase in the population. The remainder - a far more volatile number in Ireland but 20,000 in 2017 and on average that amount over the last two decades - is net migration.
Of course, it's a little more complicated than births exceeding deaths. A population increase of 50,000 does not mean the country needs 50,000 new homes a year. At a very basic level, not every individual - and certainly not new-borns - has a household by themselves.
So, in order to understand housing demand, we need to look at household formation. But the picture here reinforces the stats above. There are about 330,000 women in Ireland aged between 25 and 34, compared to about 110,000 aged 75-84. This gap of between 20,000 and 25,000 per year gives a good measure of the underlying demand for new housing in Ireland each year.
But in addition to the increasing population, there are two further elements that need to be factored in. The first is obsolescence: even in countries with a declining population, new homes need to be built to replace stock that falls out of use. Even if every home lasts on average 200 years, that's still 0.5% of the housing stock - or in Ireland's case, 10,000 homes.
And lastly, there is household size. While at first glance, this appears to have been static in recent years, or indeed even increasing between the 2011 and 2016 Censuses, this is merely because household formation is what economists call endogenous. Simply put, if you can't find a dwelling, you cannot form a household. Looking at the bigger picture, including long-run trends in Ireland and elsewhere, it is clear that the bulk of new households formed will be 1 or 2 persons.
This has implications for both how many new dwellings are needed and what type. If Ireland adds 2 million people in the coming decades, but they are in households of 4 persons on average, this is an additional 500,000 dwellings. But if - as is overwhelmingly likely - they are closer to 2 persons on average, Ireland needs twice as many new homes to cover the same increase in population.

And not only that, Ireland is urbanising. Dublin and the other major cities are likely to account for 80% of the country's population by mid-century. This is not some anomaly, with Dublin far too big - indeed, if anything, Ireland is anomalous in not having this process happen already.
Ireland is in the middle of a century-long process of moving from rural households of roughly 4 persons to an urban society of 2 persons per household. This has huge implications for what we build and how. Supply will be needed in and around the cities - and predominantly in apartment form.
What is clear is that this is not happening. Planning permission was granted for a little over 5,000 apartments, nationwide, in 2017, and for 20,000 dwellings in total - less than half the likely demand. It is often said that the mantra in the housing market is "location, location, location". For housing policy in Ireland, it needs to be "supply, supply, supply".

  • Download the full PDF report
  • View the report's infographic


  • Tax Obligations for Non Residents!  30 April 2018


    Do you own a property in Ireland that you’re renting out but you don’t live in the country? There’s a few tax obligations that you need to be aware of, but also, there’s some tax deductions you need to be taking advantage of!

    So, what exactly is a non-resident landlord?

    You are classed as a non-resident landlord if you rent a property in Ireland but you reside in Northern Ireland or another country. Any money you make from the renting of your Irish property, comes under Irish taxation law and must be taxed the same as if you were a resident.


    How exactly do you pay your tax to the Revenue Commissioners?


    It works slightly differently than if you were a resident of Ireland. One method is when the tenants of your property actually withhold the income tax and pay it to the nearest tax office in their location on your behalf.

    At the end of the tax year, the tenant then fills out a Form R185 and gives this to the landlord as a record of the tax paid. This may seem a quite roundabout way of organising your tax affairs but it is a lot cleaner than trying to pay money to the Revenue Commissioners from overseas.

    But, what if you don’t want to put the responsibility of paying your tax on your tenants? Your tenants may not be willing to do this for you, or you may not trust your tenants to pay the correct amount. There could be a number of reasons why you wouldn’t want to go down that route, but luckily there is an alternative


    Using a Collection Agency

    A tax collection agent is an Irish resident who collects and files income tax on your behalf. The handiness with this option is that they are provided with a second PPS number to be used exclusively when dealing with your income tax. They can be a company, individual or even a family member, trusted friend or tax advisor.

    This is normally the preferred method of dealing with income tax, as it takes the burden away from the tenants. Then, you, the landlord is able to receive your full monthly rent and can sort out your own taxes and know that you are completely compliant with local taxation laws. Even if you use a collection agent it would be advisable to use the help of a tax consultant to ensure you are fully tax compliant and have claimed all the deductions you are entitled to so that your tax bill is kept to a minimum. They can also advise you on your PRSI and USC position and their fees for completing the rental computations are tax deductible.


    But it’s not all doom and gloom!


    Did you know that, even though, you may be a non-resident of Ireland, you are still entitled to the same deductions as resident landlords!


    PRTB – Private Residential Tenancies Board


    You will have to register with the PRTB at €90 per tenancy. You are entitled to claim this as a deductible expense for tax relief though!


    Mortgage Interest Relief

    If your tenants are registered with the PRTB you are entitled to claim tax relief of 80% on the mortgage interest of your rental property from 1 January 2017. For certain tenancies the interest deduction is 100% where the property is let out for 3 years for social housing use.


    Repairs and Maintenance

    If you need to carry out repairs or maintenance to your rental property you can claim these back as expenses in your tax return. Included in the repairs or maintenance is the cost of hiring a third party for labour, which is extremely helpful in the case of non-resident landlords who cannot do the repairs or maintenance themselves.


    Management Fees

    Are you paying a management company to collect rent and overall manage your property? Did you know you that these fees as tax deductible? If you didn’t, you need to get that sorted! Hiring an agent or company to manage your property is something a lot of non-resident landlords opt for, due to peace of mind, but so many of them don’t know that these fees are completely tax deductible!


    Insurance Premiums

    Have you purchased insurance to cover and protect your rental property? You guessed it, your insurance premium on the rental property is deductible in your tax returns!

    10 Reasons to live in Longford  30 April 2018



    Longford often describes itself as a hidden gem, meaning most people don’t know about it. However if you are seeking a high quality of Life, Longford has a lot to offer.

    Property is cheap
    Your money goes a long way in Longford. Whether it’s buying or renting, prices are still recovering from the economic crash and Longford is one of the most affordable locations in the country. A large country house can be purchased for the price of a ‘shoe box’ townhouse elsewhere in the country. Prices are rising quickly but there are still amazing opportunities. Your dream home is possible in Longford.


    Longford Town & Rural living
    The county is principally a rural area with Longford town being the main urban centre with a population of over 10,000. There are a lot of vibrant villages throughout the county including three former tidy towns’ winners, all within a maximum of 20 mins drive from Longford Town. A lack of traffic congestion means a morning commute is short & stress free.


    Jobs … yes really
    The recession hit provincial Ireland hard. Construction came to a halt and in Longford unemployment soared. However, Longford is fortunately home to a number of very prominent businesses such as Abbot Laboratories, Green Isle foods, Finesse Medical, Tool & Plastic all competing for third level graduates. The Irish prison service is headquartered in Longford and the department of social welfare has substantial offices here. Centre Parcs are starting construction of a holiday resort just outside Ballymahon in spring 2017, which will employ 1000 when fully operational. A lot of speculatively built commercial property built in the boom year’s means setting up a business is much cheaper in Longford with modern office space and industrial units and low retail rents giving easy opportunities to expand.


    It’s an education
    When raising a family one of the greatest concerns is getting children into good schools. While third level courses are more restricted in the county with most students travelling to nearby Athlone IT. Longford is blessed with a number of great national schools including a Gaelscoil, where waiting lists are not a massive issue. There are 10 secondary schools in the county all with excellent academic reputations.


    Shopping
    Despite the downturn and a number of vacant retail shops in the town, Longford has somehow remained a great shopping destination with a number of unique local award winning shops & boutiques. The quality of coffee shops has improved dramatically in recent years and the car parking is amongst the cheapest in the region. All the major supermarkets are represented and the current trend is for more multiple retailers opening in the town.


    Eating, Drinking, Culture & Dancing
    During the economic boom Longford did not have the variety of restaurants it does now. The Aubergine bistro, Indian Spice, Mekong & Rising Sun Chinese restaurants in the town have all thrived in recent years. Viewmount house with celebrity chef Gary O’ Hanlon has brought some high acclaimed fine dining to the town. In Ballymahon, Nine Arches is a new welcome addition. Crossing the Shannon into Tarmonbarry Keenan’s Pub & the Purple Onion add to the variety and are just 5-10 mins drive from Longford town. Afterwards you might want to hit the Pubs, which creates a dilemma, the village local or into the town. Catch a film in the Omniplex or up to the Backstage for a play, I hear the St. Mel’s Musical Society’s latest one is hilarious. Either way, you will probably still end up in the Spiral Tree Night club or Luigi’s for the chips at the end of the night.


    Sports
    Living in Longford you will probably not be celebrating Leinster GAA titles a lot… but what is seldom is beautiful and our Club sides often punch well above their weight in the Leinster championship. Twice holders of the FAI cup Longford town got relegated from the premier division last year but intend making a swift return. Longford’s Rugby club is the envy of all provincial towns with top class facilities and the popular Sin bin bar & restaurant. These three most popular sports have a huge youth aspect with high quality coaching. The mall sports complex hosts five a side on Astro & indoor and has a 25 meter six lane swimming pool & Gym. Longford Cycling & Tri clubs are very active and growing fast. Longford Golf club is a parkland golf course close to the town centre and within 30 mile radius there are championship courses such as Mullingar, Glasson and Sliabh Russell. The Tennis club features fine savannah courts and has a popular mixed doubles night on a Friday. Due to the Shannon and lakes around Longford water skiing, wakeboarding & Canoeing / kayaking are common pursuits.


    Attractions
    While we are on the subject, the River Shannon runs all along the western border of the county where Leinster, Ulster and Connaught all converge. This is intersected by the Royal Canal at Clondra which now features a cycle & walkway path all the way into Longford Town. The River Inny also flows into the Shannon and this is particularly renowned for the short rapids just North of Ballymahon that make it an ideal white water canoeing spot. Longford’s St. Mels Cathedral is a modern day phoenix rising from the ashes, dominating the town skyline it was almost completely destroyed by fire Christmas morning 2009 rebuilt & restored within 5 years the modern interpretation and craftsmanship is fascinating. The north of the county is dominated by Cairn Hill (a torture spot for the enthusiastic cyclist) and the beautiful countryside around the Lough Gowna system of lakes. This is a popular area for fishing and Derrycassin Woods hosts one of Ireland’s finest old estate walkways. The south of the county is dominated by Lough Ree and the Bogs, in which the Corlea trackway visitor centre shows off the Iron Age trackway dating back to 148 bc. Also coming out of the Bog are the amazingly beautiful bog oak sculptures created by Michael & Kevin Casey which operate out of a studio in picturesque Barley Harbour in Newtowncashel. But then again there are ‘Hidden gems, throughout the county. The Granard Motte with commanding views of the surrounding countryside, the ‘hot water stretch’ in Lanesboro is renowned amongst fisherman throughout Europe. The heritage & tidy town winners of Ardagh Village, Newtowncashel & Abbeyshrule (also known for its airfield). All a bit boring for you? Time to go to Edgeworthstown for Go-Karting on a championship track or paintballing. This section is getting too long…. too many to mention!


    In the heart of Ireland
    Situated along the N4 Dublin – Sligo Road & N5 Dublin Castlebar Road, Longford is just c. 90 km from the Dublin M50, or an hours’ drive. My friends often joke with me ‘Longford, convenient to other places’, but it is true. Commuters and businesses are finding that getting to Dublin is pretty easy Monday to Friday there are 10 rail services with commuter and intercity trains to Dublin along the Dublin-Sligo line and 9 return services starting as early as 5:40am. Sligo on the Wild Atlantic way is just an hour’s drive. Did I put Surfing in the sporting section? From this north Midlands location whether it’s getting to Cavan and across the border, west to Mayo or Galway, south to Athlone. These areas are all within easy reach.


    You will be welcomed
    Longford is a very welcoming place, being a smaller county it easy to get to know people and make friends. In selling houses its notable the number of people not originally from the county, but spent time here due to work or relationships, that end up returning settling in a place they felt at home.


    You won’t be made feel like a ‘blow in’ in Longford, we’re just happy you decided to live here.