We spent only a couple of days in Ireland. Only long enough to get wet. But here with a brief update:
“Even here in Ireland property prices have begun to ease off,” said a friend. “Probably no nation gained as much from the property boom as Ireland. Prices soared. Dublin is said to be more expensive than London.
“Of course, we invented lots of reasons why property was going up so much. It’s a small island, people would say. Or, there are so many foreigners coming over, they would say. There was some truth to these things…but the real reason was that we could borrow at much lower rates after we went over the euro. Instead of paying 12% for a mortgage, we were paying only 6%. It’s amazing what that will do to property prices.
“The Irish got so used to spectacular property price increases that they don’t want to give up on them. In downtown Dublin there are shops that sell property in Croatia and Portugal. If property prices in Ireland aren’t still going up…they’ll try to find somewhere they are.”
Often people are better off being poor. That is the thought we always have when we visit Ireland. Its big new houses are monstrosities. Its shopping plazas blemish and curse the land. Its slick new wine bars – with their Polish barmen and Czech waitresses — offer little of the charm of its own pubs.
Markets and Money