Shortage of quality family homes noted throughout the year

December 31st, 2018 5:00 PM

By Emma Connolly

Estate agent Maeve McCarthy noted an icrease in larger holiday homes being purchased by Irish buyers (in excess of €500k). That included Bridgewater House in the much sought-after coastal village of Glandore, above, which they sold, with Hodnett Forde, for €810,000.

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There was increased confidence in West Cork's property market in 2018 with a noticeable surge in buyers from Dublin, along with ex-pats from Australia and the Middle East. 

THERE was increased confidence in West Cork’s property market in 2018 with a noticeable surge in buyers from Dublin, along with ex-pats from Australia and the Middle East. 

Large commercial property sold well, as well as holiday homes, notably those over €500k in our coastal villages.

But there’s still a shortage of quality and affordable family homes in the region. 

At least, that’s the consensus among some of our local estate agents.


Con O’Neill of Sherry FitzGerald O’Neill,
Clonakilty and Skibbereen 


‘Before the year ended the volume of sales in Clonakilty and Skibbereen had already exceeded the total number of sales for 2017 with 7.5% and 14% increases respectively (source Property Price Register adjusted for below market price sales as at 11/12/2018).

‘There are indications that central bank rules limiting the majority of borrowers to 3.5 times salary along with loan-to-value restrictions have slowed price inflation in the market and this trend is expected to continue into 2019.

‘However, the lower end of the market, below €300,000, is characterised by a larger pool of buyers with price inflation remaining an issue and there is a shortage in supply of quality family homes. We had a mix of buyers in 2018. The prime coastal villages of West Cork proved popular with strong buyers from the Dublin area who accounted for 19% of our closed sales for 2018. British and international buyers remain and made up 23% of our total sales. 

‘Attracting strong buyers from Dublin and abroad remains a key priority for 2019.’


Martin Kelleher, Clonakilty


‘Some 58% of our sales this year involved a mortgage and a whopping 42% were cash buyers.  Interestingly we had many sales this year to sterling buyers mainly because of Ireland being a perceived safe Euro haven.  Also ex-pat buyers from the Middle East and Australia featured strongly.

 ‘Last year there were 77 sales recorded on the property register for the Clonakilty area. This year there are already 92 sales and many to set to close before the end of the year.

‘Stability has returned which bodes well for the future of the property market with moderate price increases for lower priced properties and zero inflation for higher priced property.

 ‘The market is very sensitive to pricing and potential buyers are very well tuned in to whether a property is overpriced or not. Where property is competitively priced to reflect market conditions there is no issue getting these to sale agreed, however we’ve noticed that a slightly over priced property is struggling to get viewings.

‘Builders are still saying it’s not viable to build new houses in any great quantity. IPAV have long been calling for a drop in the VAT rate which will initiate an increased supply of much needed housing.’


Hodnett Forde, Clonakilty


‘The year 2018 has seen impressive growth across all sectors with a continued focus on the residential housing market in particular. 

‘However, the noticeable increase in demand year on year for good quality family homes throughout West Cork outlines the need for further development at realistic prices. 

‘The difficult weather conditions earlier this year hasn’t dampened demand for agricultural land acquisitions and the last six months of 2018 have more than made up for a quiet start to the year. 

‘Overall it has been a positive year with increasing numbers of Irish overseas expats returning home supporting the growing confidence in the West Cork property market.

‘Notable sales included a house on Inchydoney Road in Clonakilty earlier this year for €630,000 to a West Cork family returning from the Middle East as well as a coastal house in Dunmore, Ardfield for €595,000.’


Henry O’Leary, Clonakilty


‘The most spectacular property we sold this year must be the 44 acres at Black Head, Old Head, Kinsale which sold at a respectable €16,000 per acre (€700,000) as agricultural land because it was non-residential. An old farmhouse would easily have taken it over a million euro because planning permission is virtually impossible in a setting this spectacular.

‘In general 2018 was a solid year with some good results. However, very noticeable this year was the fact that all the i’s had to be dotted and t’s crossed when it came to paperwork. Any property that had work done which was not exempt had the sale held up until planning retention was granted. Going to the market it is important to establish that all your paperwork is in order. A retention application does not need to slow down going to the market as it can run alongside the selling process, but if the problem is discovered late but you could lose a buyer who is not prepared to wait.

‘Anyone going to the market in 2019 should get their house in order now to speed up the entire process.’


Maeve McCarthy, Charles McCarthy, Skibbreeen


‘It was a good year for larger commercial property eg Curragh Commercial Park on the Marsh Road in Skibbereen and The Sherkin Island Hotel, both sold for undisclosed amounts. 

The year also saw recovery of number of sales of 3 /4 bed semi-detached houses in Skibbereen. And while there was a decrease in the number of sales of 3 bed  standard holiday homes there was an increase  in larger holiday homes being purchased by Irish buyers (in excess of €500k). Proximity to water and preferably direct access and within walking distance of villages were pre -requisite. Some examples of these  would be Bridgewater House, Glandore (€810k; joint agents with Hodnett Forde); Coney Island Baltimore (€800k); Cuasnaray Crookhaven (€520k), Traharta Castletownshend (€560k). 

‘This year also saw a growing trend for larger €2m plus properties being listed for sale off market. We have years of experience handling the sale of many of West Cork’s most exclusive homes and the option of a  discreet sale, via a low-profile marketing campaign which allows sellers to retain confidentiality is proving attractive.

Overall our projected income will have increased  26% from 2017 with the number of sales completing up 40%. What that means is that there is confidence back in the Irish market which has replaced the decrease in interest from the UK but overall more properties are selling when vendors retain a realism of what prices are achievable for their properties. We also noted that viewings over all have decreased and when you negotiate a sale it is rarely  a case of a bidding war. In 99% of cases currently there is usually only  one genuine purchaser per property sold.’

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