Prices for self-catering holiday homes have been slashed by up to 60 per cent - despite July and August being peak season - because letting agents cannot rent them otherwise.
Dream Holiday Homes and self catering.ie, two of the country’s largest such firms, last week reported significant cuts in prices and a surge in business for special-offer rates. Selfcatering.ie managing director Mary Carr said that ‘‘never before in high season have rates been cut to such a degree’’.
‘‘Houses for seven days in the likes of Rosslare or Kenmare, which have always been popular, have dropped from €950 or €850 per week to €750 or €650.
‘‘We have deals for inland accommodation in places like Westmeath for €299 a week and in hotels like Breaffy House [Mayo] for €134 per person sharing for two adults’ bed and breakfast with one evening meal, with two kids eating and staying for free.
‘‘Local attractions and businesses are all offering discounts, and people are more price-conscious than ever. Instead of seven days, many are looking to stay for just three or four days," she said.
Dream Holiday Homes is the letting agent for 8,000 properties - many in tax-break schemes - and nine out of ten deals it has closed in recent weeks are special offers. Marketing manager Lisa Argue said that people were ‘‘very much booking at the last minute’’.
‘‘We have reduced some prices by 50 to 60 per cent, because people are not willing to spend as much.
You can get a house in Doolin or Lisdoonvarna this week for €399."
Brian Farrell, a director of Harry Farrell and Sons Mobile Homes, said that business this year had been ‘‘terrible’’ because nobody wanted to buy new mobile homes, and those who would usually trade up after six years were not selling on now.
The company also has caravan sites in Waterford, Wexford, Kerry and Clare.
‘‘We are getting people in their late 30s and 40s looking for three bed secondhand mobile homes, which are now going for about €15,000, as they see it as a long-term holiday investment. However, there is little about to sell on.
We won’t fill the caravan parks this summer, but we’ll do okay. In the downturn, people are using their mobile homes more."
Report by By Nicola Cooke - Sunday Business Post