Killarney: Returning emigrants outbid locals
Retiring Irish emigrants with a hankering for the auld sod are outbidding locals in Killarney helping to drive up prices in the Co Kerry town and its hinterland by 6pc to €265,000.
Killarney has always behaved as a market apart from the rest of the county, not least because of its vibrant tourist economy and extraordinarily restrictive planning regime. But those facets were exacerbated in 2017 by demand from returning emigrants.
"About 50pc of the people relocating are older expats returning after a long period and the other half are young professionals who had moved abroad to places like Australia and are coming home to buy a house," says Michael Coghlan of Sherry FitzGerald Coghlan. "That's a trend I would see continuing."
As a result of this demand, the activity was strongest for three- and four-bed semis in the town and detached houses on its periphery. The price of a three-bed semi is up 4pc to €250,000, while four-bed detached homes increased by 9pc to €380,000.
Demand is also fuelled by growth in Killarney's jobs market, including at one of its biggest employers, Liebherr Construction Cranes, and its local suppliers. "Also, there are buyers travelling as far as Ballincollig or Cork city for work," adds Coghlan. One half of the couple might work in the hospital in Tralee or as a garda in Killarney and the other might work for Pfizer in Cork or EMC/Dell in Ballincollig."
But all this growth, coupled with a lack of new development, has stifled the home-owning aspirations of prospective first-time buyers. "A lot of them can't afford Killarney anymore, so they have to look at villages six or seven miles outside town, like Milltown or Firies, and that will continue for at least two years," says Coghlan.
The agent believes Killarney is the only town in Kerry where sale prices are high enough to generate a good margin for developers. "We had three new developments last year," he says. "In Aghadoe, new four- and five-bed detached homes were selling for at least €450,000. There is a new development in Innisfallen where three-bed semis are selling for €259,000, with a detached phase commanding prices of €340,000. By October, a second phase at Bluebells on Countess Road sold out with prices at €450,000."