It�s a mad, mad real estate
By Louise Bolger
Louise Bolger in front of Atlantic View Bed & Breakfast
for sale in Clifden, Galway, Ireland.
SUN STAFF WRITER
I recently returned from a trip to Ireland,
home of my husbands family. The last time we were there
over 20 years ago, Ireland was still basically a poor country
trying to get a foothold in the world economy.
Well things have sure changed. Ireland now boasts the best
economy in Europe and as part of the European Union, economic
doors have opened for the country in every area, not the least
of which is real estate.
The front page above the fold story in the Irish Independent
newspaper dated Friday, March 17, headlined "Auction
fever as property makes astronomical price."
The fever it was referring to was the sale of what it defined
as an ordinary Dublin City, four bedroom 1950s home selling
for 3.7 million euros. If youre not keeping up with
the world currency markets, let me remind you that a Euro
is worth about 20 percent more than a dollar, making the sale
price of this property approximately $4,440,000.
The column went on to say that the same house a decade ago
would have sold for less than 890,000 Euro. The emergence
of accidental millionaires was fueling the market, with people
who have made huge profits on the equity of their homes trading
up or re-investing in more property.
It finished by drawing the conclusion that while in America
and the United Kingdom people have dipped into their housing
wealth to increase personal spending, in Ireland people are
dipping into their housing wealth to buy more property, a
blanket statement I would not necessarily agree with.
I was pretty impressed by the property prices in the paper.
One-bedroom condos were listing at 300,000 Euro, but I decided
that Dublin was a major European city and the values were
probably comparable to American cities.
When we arrived in County Galway on the west coast of the
country, the rugged area my mother-in-law escaped 70 years
ago, I assumed property values would be substantially lower.
Wrong. We stayed two nights in a bed and breakfast outside
of the lovely town of Clifden, Galway, an unexceptional home,
with a modest view of the ocean, and about 2500 square feet.
It happened to be for sale, and when I returned home, I tracked
it down on the Internet. Modest indeed, the property was being
listed for 700,000 Euro or $840,000.
I guess we Americans are accustomed to being on top of the
world economies, but it seems that our Irish cousins are at
least keeping pace with us. I guess were not the only
real estate market which has gone mad. It is indeed a mad-mad-mad
real estate world.