Irish holiday homes at fire sale prices for U.S. buyers

Discounts of up to 80 per cent now on many  Irish properties

Some of the most desirable properties in Ireland are on the bankruptcy auction block - and at fire sale discounts of 80% on peak prices, according to a report in the July 2011 issue of International Living magazine.

The more than 36 million Americans with Irish roots may want to take note: Thatch-roofed cottages by the sea, pubs on the village green, and country houses surrounded by horses are selling for cents on the euro today.

"The country is bankrupt. But if there's any silver lining, this is the kind of tragedy that creates opportunity," says international property investor Ronan McMahon, who is also a dyed-in-the-wool Irishman and director of Pathfinder Ltd., a real estate advertising company.

In the July issue of International Living magazine, he writes that Ireland's boom of the 1990's and much of the last decade turned to bust as its banking system imploded and the real estate industry and market crashed. In the boom there was too much construction, he says, and today only a few brave souls have an appetite or funds for real estate.



Survey shows Irish own fewer homes than myth would have thought

One third of all Irish mortgage holders fear family home will be repossessed

Growth of Irish economy to delay return to the bond markets

McMahon says that three of these fire sale auctions have already taken place and more will follow. One  this week in Dublin, on July 7 featured knock down prices.

At an auction in April, McMahon says, properties were snapped up at fire sale prices. Like €30,000 ($44,500) for a three-bedroom home in the midland town of Mullingar...a city center condo in scenic and culture-filled Galway for €70,000 ($104,000)...and a retail unit a short stroll from where the auction took place in central Dublin for €57,000 ($84,500).

Ireland is far from out of the woods, he cautions, although he expects these auctions to be watched closely by real estate investors as well as those looking for a holiday home in Ireland.

"Despite its problems, Ireland remains one of the most beautiful countries on earth," says International publisher Jackie Flynn, a native of Waterford, Ireland. "Atlantic waves roar and crash onto sandy beaches while on the other side ancient dry-stone walls mark out a patchwork of green fields and country lanes. At night, the pubs fill with characters...fishermen, fiddle players, vacationers and more-everyone ready to share a story or a song over a pint of Guinness."

McMahon adds, "In Dublin, there are deals on large, historic Georgian-period houses and more. But the best deals are in Ireland's midland region where bright-green hills of pastureland roll and roll. But Ireland is small. You can drive across the entire country in less than three hours, so you're close to everything. Surfing, sailing, hill walking, fishing, the world's best golf, the museums, the vibrant social's all on your door step."