Around the block


City architect ain't no NimbyCity architect Jim Barrett ain't no Nimby and certainly has no problems with a high density housing scheme in the back garden of his Dublin 4 home.

Plans for the demolition of his home at 19 Eglinton Wood in Donnybrook to make way for four three-storey houses are being considered by planners at Dublin City Council. It seems that Jim has an agreement with a Limerick-based developer, one Pat Keogh, to buy his house and has agreed to allow him to apply for planning permission. If city planners approve the scheme, it will see the construction of four homes on the site, located off exclusive Eglinton Road where the large redbricks make several million apiece.

The houses, designed by architects Mitchell and Associates, have external decks at second-floor level and basement level car-parking accessed via a car lift. House sizes range from 296-366sq m (3,186-3939sq ft). Access to the scheme will be via an existing right of way through an apartment scheme on Eglinton Road.

The council has asked for additional information and has highlighted the use of decks on the second floor and the height of the development (which is 2.3 metres higher than the neighbouring houses) as issues that need to be addressed by the developer. Good on you Jim.

Outrage at programmeMonday's Future Shockprogramme on RTÉ left the property industry reeling after its lurid predictions of a 30 per cent drop in house prices accompanied by Hammer House of Horror music to really frighten home owners. Estate agents were outraged by the tone of the programme which, they claim, will cause sleepless nights for young buyers who are already worried about their mortgage repayments. Whatever about those who have already bought, the programme undoubtedly prompted would-be buyers to think again before signing on the dotted line and in fact some agents already report cancellations as a direct result of the show which had a huge audience, according to RTÉ. Housebuilders who are already nervous about the state of the market were horrified by the suggestion that the market was heading for a hard landing rather than the soft fluffy one we had all anticipated. Most nervous of all will be new homes agents who are hoping to complete sales of new apartments where sales were agreed off plans in the last year.

Bumpy ride ahead  All the main agents had something to say about the RTÉ programme, but the IAVI (Irish Auctioneers & Valuers Institute) was strangely silent on the claims made on air. Newly appointed president Robert Ganly concentrated instead on the tired issue of stamp duty which undoubtedly will change before this Government will leave office. Ganly takes over the chain of office from Carlow agent John Dawson who did a fine job during his 12 months. The next year is likely to be more turbulent - like the industry generally. As that famous line goes: "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be bumpy ride, Robert."

Investors look overseasWith sentiment at a pretty low ebb, anyone with a bit of cash is clearly heading overseas, in particular London where the market is hot. Buy-to-let apartments are in particularly strong demand from Irish buyers, according to blue chip agent John D Wood & Co. It's South Kensington branch, for instance, claims that around 30 per cent of its sales are to Irish investors, looking to diversify their portfolio. Meanwhile, those willing to take a wild punt should contact Larionovo, the Irish company that is now marketing Indian property after a long running campaign in Dubai. It's offering apartments in places like Goa for under €30,000 and buyers are being promised rental guarantees of 7 per cent over five years. For the record, the chief economist of India's international bank, Bank of Baroda, has said that property prices in most parts of India have appreciated by as much as 60 to 100 per cent over the last 12 months. Merrill Lynch recently forecast that Indian real estate will multiply in value from $12 billion to $90 billion by 2015. What's keeping you?