The Best Place to Live in Ireland 2021: Which areas are the most affordable?

Analysing the frontrunners in our competition, we identify those that offer good value

Fertullagh Road, Cabra, Co Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Fertullagh Road, Cabra, Co Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The Irish Times recently published a list of 20 Best Places to Live in Ireland as part of its ongoing competition.

They ranged from villages where houses are quite cheap, to suburbs where property is out of most people’s reach. For example, in Glaslough, Co Monaghan, the average of the last 50 transactions on the Property Price Register was 138,000, while in Malahide, Co Dublin, it was 726,000.

House prices are just one of several measures our judges are applying in choosing the Best Place to Live in Ireland, but in the midst of a housing crisis they are an important consideration. So which places on our list represent the best value?

To work this out, this article compares the “affordable” housing caps listed in the Government’s Housing For All plan (which vary by area and are based on market rates) with recent sales on the Property Price Register and asking prices on myhome.ie.

Below are those that represent the best value among The Irish Times 20 Best Places to Live in Ireland.

Ballinakill, Co Laois

Government definition of an “affordable home” in Co Laois: Under €250,000.
Average of the last 50 sales in Ballinakill: €138,000 – some stretching back to 2016.
Average asking price of homes for sale on myhome.ie: N/A.
Number of homes for sale on myhome.ie: 3, all sites.
Affordability: Excellent, but only 5 sales in the past year and very little available.

Fertullagh Road, Cabra, Co Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Fertullagh Road, Cabra, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Cabra, Dublin 7

Government definition of an “affordable home” in Dublin city: Under €450,000.
Average of the last 50 sales in Cabra: €284,411.
Average asking price of homes for sale on myhome.ie: €356,000.
Number of homes for sale on myhome.ie: 24.
Affordability: All but one of the houses for sale are seeking less than the €450,000 price that the Housing for All plan says is “affordable” for central Dublin. Four of them cost less than €300,000. Prices in the capital are high, but Cabra represents very good value relative to other areas of Dublin.

Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim

Government definition of an “affordable home” in Co Leitrim: Under €225,000.
Average of the last 50 sales in Carrick-on-Shannon: €121,421 (€144,846 when a recent group sale is excluded).
Average asking price of homes for sale on myhome.ie: €207,000.
Number of homes for sale on myhome.ie: 41.
Affordability: The average asking price in Carrick-on-Shannon is less than the affordable home designation for the county, and the actual sale prices are well below this level. Twenty-five of the properties for sale in Carrick are seeking €225,000 or less, and 23 are seeking €200,000 or less. Affordability and availability are both good here.

Clonakilty, Co Cork
Clonakilty, Co Cork

Clonakilty, Co Cork

Government definition of an “affordable home” in Co Cork: Under €350,000.
Average of the last 50 sales in Clonakilty: €290,000.
Average asking price of homes for sale on myhome.ie: €361,000.
Number of homes for sale on myhome.ie: 39 (nine are sites).
Affordability: Average asking price is marginally above the “affordable home” price for Co Cork. The average of actual recent sales is €60,000 below. Sixteen of the properties for sale are seeking less than €350,000; seven are less than €200,000. Be prepared to look outside the town for affordable homes.

Clonbur, Co Galway

Government definition of an “affordable home” in Co Galway: Under €350,000.
Average of the last 50 sales in Clonbur: €172,133.
Average asking price of homes for sale on myhome.ie: N/A. Just two houses for sale, for €125,000 and €825,000.
Number of homes for sale on myhome.ie: 2.
Affordability: Excellent, but only seven sales in the past year and very little available.

Claddagh Basin, Galway
Claddagh Basin, Galway

Galway city

Government definition of an “affordable home” in Galway city: Under €400,000.
Average price in Galway city: €325,000 (according to Daft.ie housing report 2021).
Average asking price of homes for sale on myhome.ie: €365,000.
Number of homes for sale on myhome.ie: 204.
Affordability: The average current asking price is below the Government definition of €400,000 for an “affordable” home in the city. There are 167 homes for sale at or below the affordable level for the area, and 46 of these are seeking 200,000 or less.

Glaslough, Co Monaghan

Government definition of an “affordable home” in Co Monaghan: Under €225,000.
Average of the last 50 sales in Glaslough: €139,000, with some stretching back to 2017.
Average asking price of homes for sale on myhome.ie: N/A.
Number of homes for sale on myhome.ie: 0.
Affordability: Excellent, but only five sales in the past year and very little available.

Gorey, Co Wexford
Gorey, Co Wexford

Gorey, Co Wexford

Government definition of an “affordable home” in Co Wexford: Under €300,000.
Average of the last 50 sales in Gorey: €284,411.
Average asking price of homes for sale on myhome.ie: €392,000, a high average driven up by one very expensive property.
Number of homes for sale on myhome.ie: 89 (including 22 sites)
Affordability: Average recent house sales in Gorey are marginally below the level of an official “affordable” property in Co Wexford. Though asking prices seem high, almost half are below €300,000 and 18 are below €200,000. There is a good stock of affordable homes in Gorey.

Killarney, Co Kerry

Government definition of an “affordable home” in Co Kerry: Under €250,000.
Average of the last 50 sales in Killarney: €266,000.
Average asking price of homes for sale on myhome.ie: €417,000.
Number of homes for sale on myhome.ie: 33 (nine are sites).
Affordability: Average asking price is well above the average price for Co Kerry, the average of actual recent sales is just slightly above. Seven of the 33 available properties are seeking less than €250,000; five are less than €200,000. It’s not a cheap place, but there are affordable houses.

Monaghan town

Government definition of an “affordable home” in Co Monaghan: Under €225,000.
Average of the last 50 sales in Monaghan town: €189,000.
Average asking price of homes for sale in Monaghan town on myhome.ie: €220,000.
Number of homes for sale on myhome.ie: 11.
Affordability: Prices in Monaghan town are broadly in line with or even below the official affordability level for that county, which by countrywide standards is low.

Tullamore, Co Offaly

Government definition of an “affordable home” in Co Offaly: Under €275,000.
Average of the last 50 sales in Tullamore: €210,375.
Average asking price of homes for sale on myhome.ie: €285,000.
Number of homes for sale on myhome.ie: 82 (including 25 sites)
Affordability: The average asking price is slightly above the Government’s “affordable” level of €275,000 for the county, but the average recent sale price is well below it. There are 43 properties for sale below €275,000, and 25 below €200,000. Tullamore has good affordability and availability.

Waterford city
Waterford city

Waterford city

Government definition of an “affordable home” in Waterford city: Under €250,000.
Average house price in Waterford city: €202,150 (according to Daft.ie housing report 2021).
Average asking price of homes for sale on myhome.ie: €295,000
Number of homes for sale on myhome.ie: 76
Affordability: The average current asking price is above the Government definition of an affordable home in the city. Nevertheless, there are 51 houses at or below the affordable level of €250,000, and 44 of these are €200,000 or less. Availability and affordability are good in Waterford.

Northern Ireland

Finally, The Irish Times full list of 20 Best Places to Live in Ireland contains three locations in Northern Ireland – Derry city; Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh; and Rostrevor, Co Down – which can’t be compared using the same measures.

But in general, house prices in the North are considerably lower than in the South. According to the Property website Zooply.co.uk, average prices are £125,000 (€146,000) in Derry, £106,472 (€124,000) in Enniskillen and a slightly steeper £204,353 (€238,000) in Rostrevor.

The competition

The Irish Times ran the original Best Place to Live contest in 2012, when Westport, Co Mayo, was selected as the overall winner.

It launched a new search for the Best Place to Live in Ireland 2021 in June, and invited people countrywide to nominate their favourites. Some 2,400 people nominated 470 different places: cities, towns, villages and suburbs.

We have already whittled this down to the 20 top contenders. They were judged not just on affordability but also natural amenities; buildings; community initiatives and spirit; presence of clubs, societies and activities; good local services; diversity; a welcome for outsiders; transport links; employment opportunities; digital links for distance working; safety and security.

This year’s shortlist of five is announced on Saturday, September 18th, and the winner on September 25th.

Every stage of the competition is documented here.