Shrewsbury still tops in Dublin while country estates do good trade


Dublin MarketThe so-called mansion tax will be reaping dividends on Shrewsbury Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 where three of the top five sales were recorded this year.

The new owners of the three properties – Lissadell, 9 Shrewsbury Road which sold for €6 million, Thorndene, Shrewsbury Road, formerly owned by businessman Niall O’Farrell, which sold for about €5 million, and 8 Shrewsbury Road, which was owned by former AIB chairman Dermot Gleeson and made €5.2 million – will owe €38,400 between them in property tax when full payment is due in 2014.

Another house in Dublin 4, 33 Raglan Road, was also in the top five at €3.125 million, while the only outsider, Brynogue on Westminster Road in Foxrock,Dublin 18, was the fourth largest sale at €3.45 million.

All of the top 20 sales were in Dublin, making between €2 million and €6 million, and were on the southside of the city, mainly in parts of Dublin 4, south County Dublin and Foxrock.

While the northside didn’t figure in the top 20, notable sales included Kelburne on 128 Howth Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3 which made €1.55 million and Gorse Hill on the Baily in Howth, Co Dublin which sold for €1.46 million. Abington, an estate of period-style mansions, had five of Malahide’s top sales ranging from €1.3 million to €1.8 million, including the sales of the former homes of banker David Drumm and singer Ronan Keating.

On the west side of the city in Castleknock, the two highest sales of the year were in Georgian Village, making more than €1 million each.

Robert Ganly of Knight Frank says the market for houses in the €2 million plus price bracket has been largely driven by ex-pats. “They are coming back to educate their children, or buying with a view to retiring or buying at what they believe is the bottom of the market with a strong currency such as sterling. I don’t believe the property tax will deter expats from looking for property here in that price range.”

Simon Ensor of Sherry FitzGerald says this year saw the most activity at the upper end of the market since 2006. Another dominant group are overseas buyers from London, the US and Hong Kong who are buying “purely from an investment point of view. They see Ireland in more optimistic terms than we see ourselves and they see growth potential.”

He says there is also a significant number of Irish people in the market who haven’t had their wealth decimated by the property collapse. “There are still some people in business doing extremely well.”

Janet Carroll of Savills in Blackrock says transaction-wise 2012 surpassed her expectations. “Vendors are now more accepting of the new reality in terms of prices and no longer think this is just a temporary dip. This has helped me do my job.” She says foreign nationals account for 12 per cent of the market in her area. “We are seeing people coming here on relocation packages, particularly to work in hospitals.”

Noteworthy Sales

Although three of the top five sales in Dublin were on Shrewsbury Road in Dublin 4, many in the property industry would have expected it to have been four. There was surprise, however, when the Government-owned Woodside at 18 Shrewsbury Road, regarded as one of the finest houses on the road, only sold for €1.7 million, according to the price register.

Another house excluded from the top five because it is listed as a commercial property was 8 Raglan Road, Dublin 4 which sold to the Turkish Embassy for €6 million.

Two big sales of the year that didn’t quite make it into the top five were 16 Argyle Road in Donnybrook which sold for €3.05 million and Bartra House in Dalkey which made €3 million. Bartra House was formerly owned by Gavin O’Reilly, the former head of Independent News and Media and actor Alison Doody.

Portofino, a Georgian house with a sea view at 2 Castle Place, Breffni Road, Sandycove made €3 million while Savills sold Eagle Lodge on Sydney Avenue in Blackrock for €2.9 million. Lisney had a slew of houses in the top 20 including Hatherton on Richmond Avenue South in Dartry at €2.85 million. DNG had some notable sales in the €1-€2 million bracket including Blackhall Manor in Dunboyne which sold yesterday for €1.75 million.

Country Market

The country homes market racked up some impressive sales this year with Humewood Castle Estate in Co Wicklow taking the top spot for the year in terms of the price achieved. While the price register says it sold for €7.225 million, the separate sale of land is believed to have brought the price to €8 million.

In the number two spot was the vast Woodhouse estate in Stradbally, Co Waterford while Seamark in Glandore, west Cork – a Georgian house on five acres – took third place with a remarkable €3.7 million.

Harriet Grant of Savills says the majority of their transactions were in the €500,000 to €1.25 million bracket and 45 per cent were overseas buyers, mostly ex-pats. She says all of the expat buyers were cash buyers whereas half of the 55 per cent Irish buyers were cash buyers, with the remainder seeking finance, albeit with a low loan to value. “Most popular with buyers are well located period properties, close to an airport, a good town or city and in good condition.”

Bessborough House, in Balrath, Co Meath was also sold by Savills on 104 acres, but only the sale of the house was recorded on the property register at €1.3 million. The full amount is believed to be over €2 million.

Edward Townshend of Colliers International says 2012 saw a significant shift in the country house market, as transactions began to take place again “albeit at prices of 50 per cent or more below their 2006 peak. There’s been renewed interest especially from the overseas market and in particular from the US and UK.

“Irish buyers are now at a distinct disadvantage. They have little or no credit available to them and there will not be any significant change until the banks here are recapitalised and start lending at reasonable levels again.”

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