Is now the time to buy a holiday home?

There’s nothing like a blast of sunshine to make us dream about buying a seaside retreat or bolt-hole in the countryside. And though sales – and prices – are on the up again, making the dream a reality might just be an affordable proposition

Thu, Jul 31, 2014, 01:00

A spell of good weather invariably sets minds drifting to the possibility of owning, rather than renting, a holiday home. And anecdotal evidence is pointing to the first pick-up in the market for some years, albeit from a very low base.

With cash on deposit earning so little due to record low interest rates, and a boost in Dublin prices offering homeowners based in the capital a comforting rise in equity in their principal homes, it seems that more people are taking the plunge.

Typically, it’s Irish families from nearby towns or the larger urban areas that are looking to purchase by the sea, with ex-pats also featuring.

So, what can a prospective coastal bolt-hole buyer now expect to pay for a modest holiday home?



While there may be more activity in holiday homes in Connemara this year, prices have not yet started to recover.

According to Sinead O’Sullivan of Matt O’Sullivan Auctioneers in Clifden, property prices have fallen by between 50-70 per cent in Connemara, and by 70 per cent “in most cases”.

“The stronger the view, the more it will have kept its value,” she says.

Where once you could have expected to spend about €400,000 for a three-bed holiday home in Cleggan or Ballyconneely, now the average price is between €180,000 and €220,000, says O’Sullivan.

As with elsewhere, O’Sullivan notes that, “most of the buyers are Irish, or Irish abroad, with some from the UK”.

Traditional cottages, on the market for between €90,000 and €100,000 and needing work, are still popular, and it’s mostly private sales in the area, with the odd bank sale.

Recently a two-bed apartment in Clifden town went on the market at €60,000 but, according to O’Sullivan, interest from nine bidders pushed the sale price up to €90,000. Elsewhere, two two-bed apartments on Market Lane in Clifden recently sold for €50,000 and €44,000 apiece.

“There are always bargains. People should inquire if they see something they like. You never know,” advises O’Sulllivan.


Just 30 minutes from south Dublin, Brittas Bay has long been a popular spot with holidaymakers from the capital. Catherine O’Reilly of Sherry FitzGerald in Wicklow town says there has been “more interest in holiday homes” from Dublin buyers this year.

Prices have dropped by as much as 70 per cent in the area, which means that you can now buy a three-bed property in Brittas Bay village for about €150,000, or for between €180,000 and €220,000 in nearby Brittas Bay Park. This is a far cry from the boom years when O’Reilly recalls selling a house in Brittas Bay village for €522,000.

Mobile homes are also still popular. At Potters Point, for example, you can get a four-bedroom mobile home, with direct access to the beach, for €85,000 (on a 24-year lease).



Further down the coast in Wexford, a recovery in Dublin house prices is fuelling an upturn in activity, as buyers put their cash saving into a second property. Colum Murphy of Kehoe & Associates has sold more holiday homes this year than in the previous two years combined.

Areas in demand include Rosslare Strand and Curracloe but prices have yet to move off the bottom, with typical holiday homes starting from about €90,000, as opposed to the high of more than €200,000.

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