Connacht/Ulster: A 'solid' year in the west and north

The country's biggest land sale of 2014 occured west of the Shannon

The Leeson family, who have extensive dairy interests in Ireland and Britain, paid over €2.6m for a 343ac farm at Derryhiney, located close to the River Shannon at Portumna, Co Galway. The sale was the biggest auction of 2014 and was handled by Raymond Potterton.
The Leeson family, who have extensive dairy interests in Ireland and Britain, paid over €2.6m for a 343ac farm at Derryhiney, located close to the River Shannon at Portumna, Co Galway. The sale was the biggest auction of 2014 and was handled by Raymond Potterton.
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

The biggest farm sold at auction in 2014 was located in Connacht/Ulster. The farm extended to 343ac and was once owned by the legendary farm leader Rickard Deasy.

It is located near Portumna and sold under the gavel of Raymond Potterton for €2.6m.

The counties of Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal along with the five counties of Connacht were included in this region for the purposes of the survey. A total of 31 auctions in the region saw 1,371ac of land sold for a total of €9,869,000 at an average of €7,195/ac.

After the Portumna sale the next most significant auction in Connacht/Ulster was the sale of a 91ac farm at Laurencetown, Co Galway. The farm sold at auction under the direction of Ballinasloe auctioneer John Dolan making €790,000 or €8,700/ac.

A 25ac parcel of land at Emyvale in Co Monaghan attracted the top per acre price in the region when it sold for €14,800/ac under the hammer of Jim Duffy. In neighbouring Co Cavan an 18ac holding at Crossdoney made €10,900/ac in a transaction handled by Robert Nixon.

Other sales where land made between €10,000 and €11,000/ac included an 8ac property sold by O'Tooles at Woodford in east Galway and a 10ac parcel sold by Vincent Egan at Boyle in Co. Roscommon. The largest farm to sell in that price range was a 50ac holding sold by REA Gunnes at Mullaghamacateer in Monaghan.

Among the bigger farms to sell was a 125ac residential holding near Belmullet in Co Mayo, which sold under the hammer of Sherry FitzGerald Feeney West for €620,000.

An 80ac farm at Boyle in Roscommon was sold by John Earley for €544,000, while a 73ac farm at Creggs and Glenamaddy in Galway made €349,500 in an auction conducted by Creggs auctioneering firm Michael J. Rourke & Sons.

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One of the more interesting transactions in the region involved the sale of Duvillaun Island off the Mayo coast near Belmullet. The 55.8ac isle was sold at an Allsop sale for €105,000.

Roscommon auctioneer John Earley described 2014 as "a solid year" that started well. However, he says values dropped by 10-15pc between the beginning and end of the year.

"We handled 40 land transactions during the year but the beef crisis undoubtedly brought a dip in the market. Interest from overseas buyers, particularly from Britain and Australia, kept things going. I was selling all the time but wasn't selling for more money," he said. Mr Earley felt that the year finished well with some strong results.

He said the budget brought good news for land sales and the land market in general and its measures will encourage investment in land.

"The tax arrangements associated with long-term leasing means that you could earn 3pc on your money tax free, which is more than you'll get in any bank," he said.

Tuam auctioneer Martin Tyrell believes the beef crisis led to a distinct cooling in the market.

"I'll have to say this past year was a good bit ahead of the last three or four and it was going well until the beef crisis hit. It is recovering again but there is still a lot of land on the market," he said

Dermot Conlon of REA Gunne in Carrickmacross thinks land in Monaghan held its own in 2014. Like John Earley he noticed prices were stronger in the earlier part of the year but he said certain fundamentals remain the same no matter what the conditions.

"Location is everything, good accessible land with good road frontage will make €12,000 to €14,000/ac and reasonable land will make between €8,000 and €10,000/ac," he said.

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