Ireland’s eye: Happenings around the Auld Sod



Dropping House Prices

HOUSE prices in Mayo continue to fall, with one property outside Castlebar losing 160,000 in value.

A report from property website, covering the third quarter of 2009, says the average asking pricing in Mayo is now just under 210,000, down 22% from when the property market was at its peak.

The report showed that house prices in the west are already the lowest in the country -- typically ranging from 182,000 to 220,000 -- but they are still remaining unsold for more than a year.

Meanwhile, the latest figures issued by another property website,, show that the average asking price for a four-bedroom detached home in Mayo now stands at 345,000, down 15% from the market peak.

However, local auctioneers say that property prices in the county are far lower than these figures claim.

“House prices have fallen by at least 30% in the last two years,” said Swinford-based auctioneer and estate agent, Joe Mellett.

“The average price for a three-bedroom semi in the county is now in the region of 150,000.”

Mellett said that unless the banks start lending again, there is no sign of the market bottoming out. “Young couples are being put to the pin of their collar,” he said.

He said that the current trend among house buyers in the county is to purchase homes in the country on a few acres of land which need renovating.

“People can pick up absolute bargains for around 100,000 if they’re prepared to put the work into the property,” he said.

Castlebar-based estate agent Kevin Beirne says he has sold more houses in the last three weeks than for the whole of July and August.

“People were sitting on the fence but there’s a feeling interest rates are going to go up so we’re starting to see a bit of movement,” he said.

Beirne said a three-bedroom home in Castlebar now costs in the region of 185,000, while at the peak the same property would set you back 215,000.

He added that his company have a bungalow for sale in Belcarra for 190,000 when it was originally on the market for 350,000, a staggering price drop of 160,000.

Western People
Train Fare Robbery

A SOUTH Sligo family paid a whopping 176 to travel by train to Dublin for the All-Ireland football final last month -- more than 100 more than it would have cost for the same journey 24 hours earlier.

The family of two adults and four children were casualties of Iarnrod Eireann's policy of charging increased fares on the Sligo/Dublin line on Fridays and Sundays.

According to Councilor Margaret Gormley, who raised the matter at a meeting of Sligo County Council, if the family had traveled on the Saturday their tickets would have cost them only 73.50.

"If this is not a rip-off, I don't know what is," she stormed, arguing that the train fares should be the same every day of the week.

Speaking to a motion which she tabled calling on Iarnrod Eireann to discontinue the practice of charging increased fares on Fridays and Sundays, she pointed out that the policy had been introduced at a time when demand outstripped availability, but there were now eight trains every day on the Sligo/Dublin line so the argument for increased fares no longer existed.