Plan B for D4 boutique apartments as buyers become renters instead

Luxury schemes switch to rental units as Brexit blamed for sluggish sales market

The high-end apartment development at 19 Pembroke Road, Dublin 4

The high-end apartment development at 19 Pembroke Road, Dublin 4

 

Two Dublin 4 apartment blocks where apartments went for sale last year are now being offered exclusively as rentals.

Deerfield on Sandymount Avenue, Ballsbridge, with nine units, and 19 Pembroke Road, with a mix of six period units and six new-build units, both looked set to sell well, with booking deposits quickly paid on about half the units at 19 Pembroke Road, and a smaller number reserved at Deerfield.

But sales failed to materialise in line with expectations and developer Agricula has withdrawn the properties from the market and returned booking deposits to intending buyers. As of mid-January they have been advertised for rent through agent Bergins. Half the units have since been rented.

Originally the apartments at 19 Pembroke Road were priced from €650,000 for a one-bedroom unit up to €1.1 million for a two-bed penthouse, but renters can now expect to pay from €3,000 per month for a 54sq m one-bed up to €3,400 for a 71.5sq m one-bed.

Two-beds are relatively consistent in price, ranging from about €3,300 up to €3,600 per month for units of 78sq m to 112sq m in size. This pricing compares favourably to other nearby rentals. For example, two-bed units at exclusive Number One Ballsbridge range from about €3,850 to €5,000 per month depending on the floor, while a two-bed unit at Lansdowne Place is seeking €7,000 per month.

Landscaped gardens

The Pembroke Road development is impressive, with two entrances, luxurious common areas, landscaped gardens and parking. As a testament to the quality on offer, two of the purchasers who paid booking deposits to buy at 19 Pembroke Road have opted to rent their chosen units rather than buy elsewhere.

At Deerfield, prices were set at €650,000 for a ground-floor one-bed, which is now commanding €3,000 per month. Two-beds, which were priced from €875,000 to €1.3 million, are now seeking rents of €3,250 to €3,750 per month. The penthouse spanning the entire third floor, 159sq m in size with three bedrooms, air conditioning and a top-of-the-range Siematic kitchen, was asking €2.5 million but can now be yours for €6,000 per month.

Intending purchasers were dependent on the sale of their existing homes, usually high-end houses

While many of the large new rental schemes in areas such as Grand Canal Dock are targeted at millennial tech and finance workers, who want in-house gyms and cinema rooms, these upmarket schemes are attracting a more mature tenant. Letting agent Nicola Williams says that apartments are generally expected to be furnished, but many of the lettings agreed to date in the two schemes have been on an unfurnished basis as the incoming tenants have their own possessions and are looking to create a home away from home.

Agricula is owned by solicitor and property developer Damien Tansey, who readily admits that when construction of the schemes began he did not anticipate problems selling the premium apartments. He believes uncertainty owing to Brexit has a hand to play in the sluggish sales market.

Downsizer market

He notes that Deerfield in particular was intended to appeal to the downsizer market and, while there was significant interest expressed when the apartments were launched, he believes sales did not materialise primarily because intending purchasers were dependent on the sale of their existing homes, usually high-end houses, which in turn are struggling to attract purchasers. As a result, those interested parties opted to stay in their current houses.

While the sales market has not lived up to Tansey’s expectations, he remains unfazed, noting that in renting the units he will own two high-quality assets in prime locations, generating significant incomes. Beside Deerfield, he already owns period houses at 78 and 80 Merrion Road, which are rented for significant sums.

Tansey has enjoyed significant success in the property market, for example owning and selling the Apollo House office block on Tara Street at the height of the Celtic Tiger market, which has since been demolished for redevelopment. With domestic and international investors circling apartment blocks as a source of long-term income, there is every possibility he may receive offers to buy out these prime rental schemes in the short-term.