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View over valley in Killarney National Park, Republic of Ireland

07 Jul 2017

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Kerry is one of just a handful of Irish counties with international ‘brand’ recognition, and that’s not just down to the butter that spins off its golden name.

Highly recognised at home and abroad, Killarney thrives on hospitality. It has more tourist beds than any other Irish location (bar the greater Dublin area, which has ten times its population), with a reported 100 hotels within a 10km radius. It’s hugely popular with locals too, particularly retirees.

What makes it such a great place to settle down? Here’s seven reasons. 

1. Killarney is beautiful

Killarney has been articulating its charms for centuries. The Kerry town, with a hinterland population of nigh on 14,000, has been a tourism draw for 250 years.

Queen Victoria and her royal entourage visited several times, most notably in 1861 with a visiting party of 40-plus. Killarney has been firmly on the map ever since. It’s the beauty and sprawling greenery that’s the main draw of course!

2. Killarney has plenty of jobs up for grab

EBS Killarney 2016

“There’s been an incredible pick up again in the past few years: employment is very strong, with tourism doing very well; most hotels are at 90% occupancy, and open all year,” says Tim Galwey, of EBS Killarney. 

“Liebherr has been increasing employment too and many people working in Munster Joinery live in Killarney. Killarney’s very popular with retirees who want to buy here, and they typically come from places including Dublin, Cork, Limerick and the UK.”

EBS Killarney 2016

A big part of that success lies with Liebherr Cranes Company in particular. When Hans Liebherr became smitten with Killarney nearly 50 years ago, it was like the whole town had scooped the lotto.

The family-run, innovative cranes-making company employs 850 in Kerry (and, staggeringly, 41,000 globally), is a global market leader in what it produces, and also owns three Kerry hotels, prompting it subsequently to also open three more hotels in Europe.

To top it off, a few years ago the Liebherr family bought a Killarney golf course and leased it back to the members – par for the course it seems for Liebherr.

3. Beauty doesn’t come cheap.

We all are familiar with the expression ‘you can’t eat scenery,’ but Killarney manages to dine out on it pretty nicely. The downside to that though is that Killarney is Kerry’s most expensive location to buy a home.

Kerry came in 10th place in the 2015 nationwide EBS/DKM 2015 house affordability index, which indicated home hunters need 11% of net income (based on a Loan to Value of 80%) to purchase a property at median county values. However, it’s probable that buyers in Killarney will need to spend closer to the 14% national average rather that the county’s overall 11% average.

Back in the heady boom-time days, it was reckoned that for every kilometre distance between Killarney and Tralee, house prices went up €1,000. Is that an underestimate? The two towns are only 33kms apart, and even still today, there could be €50,000 to €100,000 price difference between various house types.

4. Semi-detacheds are in high demand

Semi-detached homes are currently scarce in Killarney, at least options which are close to the town, says Tim. Three-bed semi-ds for sale? Rarer than views of Killarney’s rutting stags.

Property website myhome.ie in June 2016 listed just four semi-ds with Killarney addresses among its 78 listings or properties to buy. Two of those were thatched, within holiday home developments, the others were a three-bed 1,200 sq ft semi-d in Woodlawn, for €225,000, and a four-bed 1,550 sq ft semi-d in Ballydowney for €265,000.

Website daft.ie, however, had a larger selection of semis, close on 20 for June 2016.

5. Trends in high places

EBS Killarney 2016

Set by a lake, under glorious brooding mountains like the MacGillicuddy Reeks and Ireland’s highest peak Carrauntoohil which tops 1,000 metres, Killarney has a great lifestyle offering. There’s also the UNESCO-recognised ‘Biosphere Reserve’ with a National Park by circling Lough Leane which runs to an incredible 26,000 acres.

Thanks to a diversity of attractions and accommodation offers, Killarney gets huge tourism visits, and last year online travel booking giant Trivago ranked Killarney as one of its Top Holiday Destinations for hotel approvals. It placed it in eighth, and was the only destination in Ireland or Britain to make Trivago’s Top 30 list.

Killarney’s super-high ratings for tourists also translate into lifestyle appeal for its residents: there’s scenery, sports, outdoor activities of all hues and effort levels, walks on the Kerry Way and hikes galore. There’s shopping, dining and music, and the INEC for concerts – something for everyone!

6. It’s a great place for first time buyers to settle down

EBS Killarney 2016

Killarney beckons equally for tourists, renters and home buyers. Short term lets are in heavy demand in Killarney, as even a compact two-bed house can command €165 a week, year-round. When rentals become available, they are gone in days, if not hours. The tough market translates well to first time buyers looking to move into owning a property of their own.

Tim says suitable, older homes can be had close to the town from €235,000 to €250,000. One in walk-in condition might fetch €270,000. More affordable options can be had by going a bit out of town, to spots like Milltown, Barraduff, Rathmore and Firies. Budgets of just under and over €100,000 will buy starter homes in Firies, says Tim, so there’s much worth hoping for.

7. Killarney’s a perfect fit for families

With its strong economy, booming hospitality business, road, rail and airport links (via Farranfore), constant buzz, bustle and vibe and the sheer range of activities and services, Killarney’s a great place to put down roots. With the rest of Kerry on the doorstep, what’s not to like?

The Price Register shows 82 Killarney sales for the year to June 2016, with Countess Road and Loreto Road’s Ardagh hitting the highest sums at €590,000 and €636,000 respectively. That said, there’s lots of value to be had with lower value property too.

Websites like Myhome listed over 80 Killarney properties for sale mid-2016, while daft.ie had over 200. If you narrow the search to a €250,000/450,000 price band, you’ll still get 80 listings on the latter.

While Killarney may be known as a tourist hotspot, it’s got much to offer for anyone looking to make it home!

Thinking of buying in Killarney?

EBS Killarney 2016

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Timothy Galwey, trading as EBS Killarney, acts 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.

**Prices accessed on Daft.ie and MyHome.ie as of May 2016.

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