How a Dublin house sold for €13.25m but stayed under the radar

Lissadell, on Shrewsbury Road, changed hands on May 19th, according to the property price register

Lissadell,  9 Shrewsbury Road,  Dublin 4,  is recorded in the Property Price Register as having sold for  €13.25 million on May 19th. The purchaser is property developer  Pat Crean

Lissadell, 9 Shrewsbury Road, Dublin 4, is recorded in the Property Price Register as having sold for €13.25 million on May 19th. The purchaser is property developer Pat Crean

 

It is often said that things get lost in translation. That’s a beauty of language, perhaps, that it isn’t linear, but when it comes to illustrating the housing market a data picture paints a thousand words.

Surveying the property price register, or PPR, is a national pasttime for many. While the Property Services Regulatory Authority has always pointed out that it isn’t a price index, lots of people use it to see what certain homes sold for. Such curiosity gets the better of most of us. Neighbours will always want to know what Mary down the road got for her place. What Mary’s place sold for is in the public domain, if you can find it. And the amount it made might even prompt her neighbours to consider putting their homes up for sale too.

The register isn’t perfect. Siobhán Corcoran, a senior economist and associate director at Sherry FitzGerald, leads a team that spends days each quarter cleaning its data, eliminating the multiple private-rental sector and social-housing sales from the transactions on the register to get a clearer picture of the market. She downloads the listings, by either county or city, and has her team go through it to get a clearer picture.

It is every citizen’s personal choice whether to register the sale of their home in either English or Irish. And although Irish is our first language, very few sales are actually registered as Gaeilge

The lists give the address of the property, what it sold for and the property type: a new dwelling house/apartment; second-hand dwelling house/apartment; or lesser-spotted teach/árasán cónaithe atháimhe. Because the data is entered manually there is the risk of human error, meaning some are logged incorrectly.

It is every citizen’s personal choice whether to register the sale of their home in either English or Irish. And although Irish is our first language, very few sales are actually registered as Gaeilge.

“While many of the housing estates in Ireland have Irish names, the proportion of PPR entries logged with an Irish address in its entirety, including county in the address field, is minute, 0.00 per cent over the last number of years,” Corcoran explains. “The proportion of PPR entries logged as a ‘teach/árasán cónaithe atháimhe’ have been in single digits over the past number of years.”

When you download the CCV text file for the Dublin listings so far this year, just one abode – in Diswellstown, Baile Átha Cliath 15 – is described in Irish.

A sale that garnered a lot of attention was Lissadell, at 9 Shrewsbury Road, in Dublin 4, which this newspaper described as having been purchased by the property developer Pat Crean, head of Marlet, last June, yet to appear on the register but believed to have sold for more than €11 million.

In a Letter to the Editor this week, Simon Twist, a reader in Blackrock, Co Dublin, helpfully pointed out that the transaction was listed as Uimhi [sic] a Naoi, Botha [sic] Sriusbaire, Dublin 4, and that it sold for €13.25 million on May 19th. That’s 20 per cent more than The Irish Times originally reported, and it makes it the highest price achieved in Dublin so far this year, according to the register.

As it is written, the address of Lissadell is almost impossible to find unless you know that precise Irish spelling. It doesn’t come up when you simply search for properties listed in Ballsbridge, for example

As it is written, the address of Lissadell is almost impossible to find unless you know that precise Irish spelling. It doesn’t come up when you simply search for properties listed in Ballsbridge, for example.

The classifications are often a confusing hybrid of English and Irish. Corcoran says that most of these properties with “full” Irish addresses have not been classified as a “teach/árasán cónaithe atháimhe” in the description field. While the Shrewsbury address of “Uimhi a Naoi, Bótha Sriúsbaire” is logged in Irish, it is not classified as a “teach/árasán cónaithe atháimhe”.

Mark Killilea, a conveyancying solicitor based in Galway, has a suggestion for solving this difficulty. Just go to landdirect.ie and find the relevant folio where the property will be listed as registered. “It’s just another hurdle, but not an insurmountable one,” he says.

But should we have to jump through these hurdles at all? Eddie Long, a software engineer in Cork, believes it shouldn’t be up to the person registering the sale to decide how to enter the address. “At present the freeform index allows whatever they like. Instead the inputter should have to choose from a dropdown menu of addresses, like that used to determine Eircode listings.”

Should these listings be in English or Irish? “Irish is an officially appointed language, so it should in both.”

Citizens are entitled just to list the address in Irish. But the process should be transparent. Ba mhaith linn trédhearcacht.