West Cork - To Buy or Not To Buy?

OK, like many here I have been following the Irish Property market with great interest on these boards the last few months.

My situation – originally from Ireland, now living in England but wanting to buy a home now in West Cork. This would be a cash purchase – up to 400K Euros

How do people here feel about the West Cork Market?

Favoured towns are Clonakilty and Skibbereen but could be either a rural location or a coastal property (been looking at both) (small village)

There is a huge amount of property for sale – but considering this, there doesn’t appear to be that many distressed sellers who must sell and in my opinion while prices have come down it doesn’t feel like the bottom of the market to me.

Am I miles off? What are your views?

Anyone know of any bargains in West Cork?

Your feedback will be appreciated

Oh by the way – found one coastal property for sale at 325K Euros and I have just offered 235K (Not heard back yet)

The property in my opinion needed at least 50K euros spent on it and you could spend twice that. Is my offer taking the P in current market

Sorry for all the questions – as you can probably tell, I am rather confused


Not sure if I have that much useful information for you as I am not really that familiar with the area but I am curious considering this is a cash purchase if this is for a holiday home or to live full time in? If holiday home, I think you could could get some fairly smashing rentals instead for when you want to visit and put your cash to better use in other investments. If it is for your main home and you currently do not live here I would say you should make the move and rent in a given village first and suss out the surrounding towns and areas. It is really hard to cage what a place is really like without living there first. Like everywhere else, I imagine prices have a long way to go down so you are in a great position to really take your time. It is generally a nice part of the country so with that kind of money you could get a really special home there, but get landed over there first, not the type of purchase I would be making from a distance.

Thank you - thats sound advice

It would be a permanent home. Been to West Cork a good number of times over the years – my challenge is that I would like to buy there now, but would not be moving to live there full-time for approx 3 years

I’m 49, semi-retired but still have children in Further Education in UK – that are somewhat dependent on me. What work I do, can be done online – so I envisaged spending long weekends and maybe summer months in West cork in first couple of years

Well, thats the theory!!

Wow! sounds like you are in an ideal position.
I live on the edge of West Cork and go down as often as possible. I have no seen any real signs of distress in the housing market yet though - no huge number of For Sale signs or anything. So my guess is that there is quite a bit to go there - but most likely this will be in the estates and towns away from the coast. It’s much harder to determine what will happen for any decent properties with a coastal view.
I have noticed small farms (20/30 acres) coming on the market in the last year - signs up along the road for ages - and they used to be snapped up in seconds, so maybe building your own or rebuilding might be a possibility.

Oh - think hard about the broadband access issue. It is very hit and miss - some villages within 15 minutes of Cork city don’t have it, yet I met a guy out on Valentia who commutes to London once a month and the rest of the time works on the net picked up over the sea from Dingle.

As previous poster said - it would make sense to rent and really find out what the locality is like.
Oh - in case you haven’t done so already - read McCarthy’s Bar by John McCarthy, and The Coast of West Cork by Peter Somerville-Large.

If ya come across a Church of Ireland rectory in need of renovation, overlooking the sea, backing onto a National Park going cheap would you let me know? Thanks… :smiley:

Thanks – I shall keep an eye out for The Church of Ireland Rectory :wink:

Appreciating the advice – Broadband is important and I have become aware that its ‘patchy’

Will also check out: The Coast of West Cork (already read McCarthy’s Bar)

My two cents, as previously stated rent for a while. If this is a permanent home you need to consider the difference between summer and winter occupancy. If your in a village at or near the coast it will be jumping in the summer but depending on size pretty dead in Winter. That isnt a bad thing you have the place to yourself good walks, the ocean etc.
Also depending on the village you may have a ghost estate or two. A number of villages have been desectrated by bad planning, too many houses built where the basic infrastructure sewage, even electricity cant cope.
I know the Courtmacsherry/Timoleague/Clon areas very well, worth keeping an eye on treesdontgrowtothesky.com for Courtmac and CLon lots of drops but still not touching reality IMHO
Finally a lot was promised in terms of developement that was never delivered and probably never will be, e.g a 40 boat marina for Courtmac, similarly some of the Apartments in CLon.
A new build would be worth considering I have some experience with some small local builders and they are top notch.
Best of luck with all you do

Do not buy for another year at least. The best (properties) are yet to arrive on the market. This area is peopled by a ‘transient society’ so don’t become one of these. Glengariffe is a pleasant place to live ‘The Italian Gardens’ is a warm climatic area, or some extinct Hunting Lodge left over after the assendancy classes or solicitors ‘forced sales’ they are still on the horizon. West Cork has not faced ‘reality’ yet! soone now, no hurry time stands still there.

Don’t forget, that most Cork people truly believe that you should pay a premium to live in Cork

This is great feedback – I appreciate it all

Interestingly it reinforces my own own thoughts about the market there - i.e. the market had not yet come to terms with the reality of the current Irish Property Market

I am not looking at New Build unless it is top quality

Also not interested in any estate living – well, not any new estates

Be aware of areas prone to flooding particularly in Clonakilty town. Certain parts of the town flood regularly and there has been some really bad ones in recent years.

I think you should visit in the off season to have a feel for long term living
Ideally rent for a while before buying anything
West Cork is great in the summer - Mizen Head if beautiful but it was described to me as ‘an awful place, nothing to do and no-one around’ after September…

I played junior football in the West Cork in the late 70s and 80s when teams were ravaged by emigration. I was out by the lagooon in Rosscarberry waiting for a lift to a match and said to an old man that its one of the most beautiful places in the country.
His reply
“Tis bhoy but I have two sons gone to the States, you can’t ate the view”

These old boy’s are full of wisdom :wink:

I sold a 3 bed stone cottage in West Cork last July, here’s some advice from a recent seller. Unless you genuinely are going to live there full time you are far better off renting. Especially as there are some lovely houses to rent at Cashelfean on the coast. They are owned by a German guy and well maintained.

If you are intent to buy you need to bid low and force the sellers to react. For example go out with McCarthys to look at 5-10 houses in a day. Tell them you are there to buy a house that week and put in your bids. Make the sellers wake up and put some time pressure on them. There are very few viewings out there, lots of houses have terrible decor/finishes. The person I sold to used this startegy. Be aware that west cork moves at a different pace to the rest of the world, that’s why people love it so much. So to get things to happen you have to apply time pressure.


fabulous place to rent

Thanks – a lot of tips about renting I note. Thing is I am pretty certain that I will live in West Cork long term

I have another question — What is the situation with Deposits?

Agents / Auctioneers are telling me it is normal to pay 5% to them on agreeing a price

I am assure this deposit is Bonded and completely safe – is it?

I ask as in the UK all deposits are paid to solicitor and only on exchange of contracts

Yet speaking to some buyers they tell me they only paid a few thousand Euros on a 300K sale as deposit. What are the facts?

Finally – I hear all these doubts about pricing and where the Market really is – but how does 240K Euros sound for a 3 bed bungalow (reasonable condition) – very close to sea near Clonakilty? (Full view of sea)

Again thank you everyone – you guys are amazing – just what a greenhorn like me needs :wink:

The property at the website standingstonebythesea.com is on the market, it is a court ordered sale with no reserve so there might be an opportunity for someone there, excellent coastal location, agent is Martin Swanton.

Thank you propertywatch – I shall check that out

Any feelings on what it may be worth in this market?

it is listed at 1.45 million but a local agent I talked to said they’d be lucky to get 750,000 for it. It is a large property, around 3800 sq feet or so, a six bed, you can see it on Martin Swanton’s site and it is on daft.ie also