Real Estate

    “So what part of America do you live in?” asks Tony while he chops my hair.
    “Is it that obvious?” Since I came back to Ireland I have been trying to purge my speech and spelling of Americanisms. I thought it was working. I’m wrong.
    “Ah no, it’s not too bad as I’m listenin’ to you. There’s only some words are fucked up, like,” he says kindly.

He’s around my age and works for one of the posher salons in Limerick. They seem busy. He says it’s quieter than it used to be; they notice the slow-down. The haircuts (US$60) are still regular enough, but business has dropped off on expensive colours. Where clients used to come in six times a year, now they might see them four times.
    “Still, some of them can’t live without their highlights and that’s that. They don’t seem to be affected by any downturn at all. Some people never are.”

He lives twenty miles out in Killaloe, on the banks of Lough Derg. It’s beautiful out there, though the lake is now choked with expensive cruisers and poisoned by agricultural pollution. He’s thinking of selling his house. Herself insisted on moving out there, but it’s too far out. They can never go out for a pint in town and he’s getting sick of it. He thinks he’ll get about $850K (US) for the house. Clare County Council has brought in new Planning Permission requirements that mean you can’t build certain areas unless you’ve lived in Clare for ten years. His place can only go up in value, he says.

He wouldn’t dream of living in a housing estate again. He wants a house on its own land. He has his eye on a place in Parteen that a client tipped him off to. Your man wants $625K for it, though Tony thinks he’s asking too much. He was thinking about paying cash, but it probably makes sense to take out a mortgage since the borrowing is so cheap. Then he’d put the rest of it into another house. Like most Limerick people I’ve talked to, he would never consider going back to Dublin. “It’s no life up there. Half the day trying to get to work, and then no one wants to go out at night because the mortgage is so high.”

Last week there was a news story about Irish hair salons going to South Africa to recruit staff. Slowdown or no, they can’t meet demand now that Ireland has discovered grooming. I ask Tony if he’d think about setting up on his own. “Sure why would I do that?” he says, looking at me in the mirror with an eyebrow raised. “I’ve a great life as it is.”

I can’t afford to live in my own damn country. I drink my hairy coffee and nurse my injured sense of entitlement.

5 thoughts on “Real Estate”

  1. Prices of three bedroom semi-detached homes fell around 10% within three miles of centre city Kilkenny so if you can be content with only a river and a castle, you could always call Kilkenny home. The actual cost of established homes, based on what’s in view in the estate agent windows: between $196,000 to $265,000 for a three bedroom Kilkenny home.


  2. I really have to question the property figures being bandied around this site. Either that or I’m in the wrong business. It’s a scissors and a city and guilds certificate for me.


  3. I confess that for dramatic effect I’m converting from Euros to dollars at the current hideous exchange rate of 1.25 and up. And sometimes I think the Irish property market is an elaborate hoax with me as the victim. But yep, people tell me that for a 1200sq foot house, 3/4 of an acre, on the Killaloe lakefront, you’re looking at 600,000 euros plus.

    Most people, of course, aren’t paying anything like that for standard houses outside Dublin. Still makes me think about that City & Guilds cert…


  4. What about those of us who have houses yet if we want to move out can’nt afford to do so ??
    Having co-purchased my house with a family member I will never half enough equity to move furthur up the property ladder here in Ireland.
    The typical deposit required for a buyer these days (first time or not) is about 15 k – 20k.
    Maybe I should just go abroad


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