Irish Eyes Not Smiling: Home prices near iconic golf may be worth Americans' look

     Those of us distressed over what has happened to our home prices here in the U.S. need only look across “the pond” for even more misery.  According to an article in
The price of a home across the street from Ballybunion is many multiples less than one near Pebble Beach.

this month’s issue of International Living, officials in Ireland are reporting an overall 40% drop in real estate prices nationwide, but the utter lack of any buyers may force some homeowners to drop their prices up to 70% to compel a sale.  Author Ronan McMahon writes that on the edge of Dublin, for example, some new apartment prices have dropped from a list of $274,000 to $96,000.

        I haven’t really kept up with real estate prices near some of Ireland’s iconic golf courses, like Ballybunion and Lahinch, so I can’t be sure how far they have fallen.  However, new two-bedroom homes across the street from Ballybunion, arguably one of the 10 best golf courses in the world, are listed at 169,000 Euros, about $223,000 US.   Compare that with similar homes near our own nation’s iconic golf courses, like Pebble Beach and the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island – many well into the millions -- and some may find a summer place on the Irish coast too big a bargain to pass up, even toting up trans-Atlantic airfares and the travel times.

        Before any potential buyers raise a glass to the affordability of Irish golf real estate, however, consider McMahon’s cautionary words about the Irish real estate market.

        “…keep in mind,” he writes, “that the deals may get even better if Irish homeowners start to sell their weekend and holiday homes to raise cash.”

         The best advice here, if a base in Ireland next to legendary golf seems attractive, is to combine a little prospecting with a few golf vacations on the Old Sod.  Only about the size of Indiana, Ireland currently has about 10,000 more hotel rooms than it needs. Even if you are three pints of Guinness to the wind, you can figure out that much supply with so little demand spells bargains for American golfers.


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