Developers beginning to look outside of Dublin for cheaper development sites

Sale of 92-acre site in Gormanston comes as land prices continue to increase in capital

The 92-acre site at Gormanston, which sold for an undisclosed sum

The 92-acre site at Gormanston, which sold for an undisclosed sum


A recent sale in north Co Dublin is indicative of a possible trend in the development land market where developers have turned their backs on the city and its high prices in favour of medium-term development plays in locations once considered marginal.

Agent Kelly Walsh has just completed the sale of 92 acres in Gormanston – about 32km north of Dublin city – which had been on the market since about 2015. The agent won’t confirm the sale price but was guiding more than €2 million for the land which was sold to an investor.

The lands, in two adjacent plots about 4km from Balbriggan and located between the M1 and N1, are zoned residential and about 70 acres have potential for development. There is no planning permission in place so, realistically, no development could get under way prior to 2019. The surrounding area is a mix of one-off housing and educational uses as part of the site adjoins Gormanston College.

Agent Garvan Walsh says developers are now looking at opportunities outside Dublin as land values in the capital are too strong. “Areas like Gormanston, Donabate and Drogheda are good prospects for development as lands can be serviced and houses built at realistic prices if the lands are bought at values where the costs of infrastructure can be absorbed,” he says.

Gormanston’s potential for development is greatly enhanced by its railway station which has commuter services to and from Connolly station in Dublin.

Mr Walsh believes towns and villages with rail connections “are the way forward” and planners should be promoting towns within daily rail commute of Dublin.

“Our roads are blocked and the rail lines are under-utilised and too slow,” he says. “Local authorities should ensure lands are serviced in these locations or work with developers to get services there and be building good park-and-ride facilities.

“If you look at the UK where similar located towns have excellent rail services to London and the smaller towns have a vibrant commercial centre as they have a good population of middle-to-high earners from London. The towns have high earners who will spend in their community both socially and also on schools and services. If planned correctly, these areas will thrive. They will also take some heat out of the Dublin residential market.”

Kelly Walsh has also sold 40 acres of residential zoned land in north Drogheda for €3 million. Again, these lands have good medium-term potential and were bought by a local developer.