Donegal most popular for holiday homes
DONEGAL's beaches and stunning scenery have made it the most popular county in Ireland in which to own a holiday home.
Almost one in five of the 60,000 getaways across the State is located in the north-west, followed by Kerry, Cork, Wexford and Clare. And the numbers buying in recent years have increased, Census figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show.
In 2006, there were almost 50,000 holiday homes across the State. This has since increased to 59,395 -- a hike of 19pc. But many buyers face the prospect of losing money on their investments, with property prices plummeting since the height of the boom. Drops of some 50pc have been recorded in some coastal counties.
Data from the property price register launched last month, which details the prices paid for homes, shows that a holiday home in Bundoran, Co Donegal, was sold for €85,000 in August 2010. A property in the same development was sold for €63,000 last February.
Property website Daft.ie, which tracks asking prices, says that prices have fallen in the most popular counties in which to take a holiday.
• The CSO recorded 10,636 holiday homes in Donegal, up 28pc since 2006, with average house prices now at €137,000 -- a drop of 49.2pc.
• The next most popular county is Kerry with 8,202 homes, up 36pc since 2006, with average prices at €156,000 -- a drop of 48pc.
• Cork (7,282, up 11pc), Wexford (6,915, up 4pc) and Clare (4,610, up 27pc) complete the top five, where prices have all dropped by more than 50pc.
Economist Ronan Lyons said many who had invested in properties could face a loss on their investment.
"It's easier to sell a high-quality house in a crash, but how much of the investment will be recouped? People might find a buyer, but they won't like the price.
"It's far too early to be talking about a recovery in the holiday home areas," he said.