16 Jun 2017
People from outside the area might think they have an idea of where, or what kind of place West Cork is, but really, how can they? Even we locals are divided, sometimes.
We can’t agree where it starts: is it Kinsale? Bandon, or Innishannon, at a push? In some respects, West Cork starts as soon as the road opens out in front of you, as soon as you hit the Viaduct outside Bishopstown. Homeward bound, head held high.
That’s unless you’re going out the ‘Bantry Line’ route, of course, or following the Wild Atlantic Way along the coast from Kinsale.
Cork County is already acknowledged as Ireland’s biggest county. It’s a less-known fact however, that West Cork is bigger again (if you straightened it out), more diverse, and broken into valleys, peninsulas and parishes – each with a claim to fame.
There are home-grown heroes, like Michael Collins, and the well-catalogued blow-ins, the hard-working, the talented, the artistic, the rich and the famous, and the infamous.
There’s Graham Norton, who grew up in Bandon and Louise O’Neill from Clon; writers David Mitchell and Zadie Smith are relatively new to the region, and Bantry hosts a literary festival that sees articulate visitors charmed, and buying in*.
And the best news? West Cork accommodates all types and wallets.
Websites Myhome.ie and daft.ie currently each list about 1,000 properties for sale under a West Cork search, of which 650 or so are in the broad ‘realistic’ €100,000-€500,000 category catering for most buyers' needs and budgets.
Jerry Holland of Clonakilty’s EBS office (and local manager Jeremy O’Sullivan) reckon they deal with buyers “from Wilton to Goleen,” and agree that what’s missing at present for home hunters in West Cork is a choice of new builds and estate homes, especially for first time buyers.
That lack apart, there’s just about everything else, “from detacheds to derelict cottages,” townhouses and country estates, mansions and islands. Jerry and Jeremy O'Sullivan say that up to 50% of their business at present is for self builds, and they agree that price inflation is now catching up with the growth seen over the past two years in more urban areas.
But a real niche at EBS Clonakilty is investments and mortgages for second or holiday homes too (but excluding buy-to-lets), at up to 70% of value.
The best value is inland (or at least away from shoreline), and West Cork has amazing, almost undiscovered (or at least under-appreciated) beauty spots. Even towns and hinterlands like Clon, Skib, Bandon and Bantry have a range of homes to consider in the broad €100,000-€200,000 category.
Median prices in Cork as a whole are close to the national average; in Cork they rose by 12.3% in 2015, up from €150,000 in 2014 to €168,500.**
Again, there is huge choice for families: it’s down to personal lifestyle, or roots, or a desire to relocate. There are great schools in all the main towns and smaller communities - see www.school.ie for more info.
‘Community’ still means something in West Cork. Skib’s getting a new amalgamated secondary school, and while there are school buses, families might want to cluster around the well-established towns for ease. West Cork has good homes within walking distance of vital services, for under €350,000.
And, of course, West Cork is a sporting nirvana, especially for GAA, rugby too to a lesser extent, and outdoor/coastal pursuits are growing in popularity. It makes sense when you consider that we've got coastline galore.
Ah, now, we’re back to 'where does West Cork begin?'
How long do you want to drive for, or how many days a week might you need to get back to Cork city, or the airport if working abroad? An easy spin is Innishannon, or Bandon, as a ‘foothills’ option. Kinsale’s as close, but that’s a different kettle of foodie fish entirely.
For a plugged-in generation, the country’s first rural digital hub of 10,000 sq ft is being developed in Skibbereen at the Ludgate Centre. It could be a game changer, putting the fastest connection speeds at the end of a keyboard.
Now, that’s a commute to savour. Time to hit the ‘home’ key?
Before you go house hunting, it's a good idea to get your mortgage arranged – or at least find out where you stand. Get the ball rolling with our First Time Buyer and Next Time Buyer guides. You can use our mortgage calculator to find out how much you may be able to borrow.
You can also call in and talk through your mortgage options. They offer a face-to-face service and you can book a 30 Minute Mortgage Meeting with Fiona or one of the team in the EBS Raheny Office.
Why not pay us a visit on our Facebook page for more great home tips, great competitions and a bit of craic?
EBS Clonakilty is a tied mortgage agent acting solely on behalf of EBS d.a.c. EBS d.a.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
The content of this blog is expressed in broad terms and is limited to general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice to address issues arising in specific contexts and not seek to rely on the information in this blog which does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by EBS d.a.c.
EBS d.a.c. neither accepts nor assumes any responsibility in relation to the contents of this blog and excludes all warranties, undertakings and representations (either express or implied) to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law.
*If we mention celebrities or businesses, we're not saying they love us. They secretly might, but it doesn't mean they endorse us.
**House Price trends accessed on 2016 House Price Index, Daft.ie, accessed June 2016
House Prices accessed on MyHome.ie and Daft.ie, accessed in May 2016