Welcome to the €1 million standard semi-d


CityLiving: Houses that cost €1m are now the norm in some areas, says Edel Morgan

The goalposts for what you can buy for €1 million are constantly shifting. Once a phenomenal sum which would get you, if not your dream home, then a fairly spectacular one, it will now barely cover the price tag of a three-bed semi in a more "fashionable" part of Dublin.

Compare this to 1996 when a property boom was declared after 17 properties sold that year for €1 million or more. Of those houses, nine made €1.27 million or over - a level never before achieved in the property market.

Indeed, 1996 was hailed as the year of "the big spenders". The sale that alerted the industry to lucrative times ahead was that of Pitcairn, a large detached house needing total refurbishment on Shrewsbury Road, Dublin 4 for the record sum of £1.55 million (€1.96 million). Today the top house on the road, Walford, is on the market this week expected to make €35 million.

Back in 1996, Independent Newspapers executive Gavin O'Reilly paid €2.47 million for Bartra, a Victorian mansion overlooking the sea at Dalkey, the highest price ever paid at auction for a Dublin home. Prior to 1996, it was rare enough for a house to make over €635,000.

It was reported that the downside of the boom was that people who grew up in suburbs like Terenure, Rathfarnham, Rathgar, Dartry and areas along the Dart line from Howth to Killiney wouldn't be able to buy in them unless they had what then seemed like the substantial figure of around £200,000 (€254,000) to spend.

Nine years on, a lottery win - unless it's a rollover jackpot - will just about buy a semi-detached house in many of these areas. However, even the semi-d may soon be out of many a millionaire's grasp. Last month number 14 Claremont Park, Sandymount, a four-bed semi in a modest cul-de-sac of 1950s houses sold for €2.62 million.

So what can you get these days for €1 million? A three-bed semi - albeit it a fine one with a big back garden - on Howth Road in Sutton, a two-bed mews off Pembroke Road, Dublin 4, a three-bed semi on Lea Road Sandymount, a two-bed bungalow on Burmah Close, Dalkey, a four-bed bungalow off Avondale Road in Killiney, a four-bed terraced house in Sandycove and a 1950s detached four-bed on Stillorgan Road Blackrock.

Others with auction guide prices of between €900,00 and €1.1 million are likely to sell for far more; a four-bed semi on Fortfield Road, Terenure, a terraced period house on Sandford Road, Ranelagh divided into five units, a four-bed house at Iona park in Glasnevin or a townhouse on Balkill Road in Howth.

Already this year around 100 properties have sold for €1 million or over - with around 30 of those going for over €2 million. The devaluation of what used to be described as "a cool million" is nowhere more evident than in the rise and rise of Ailesbury Road in Dublin 4.

In 1996, a £1.09 million (€1.384 million) price made 83 Ailesbury Road in Dublin 4 the 12th best selling house of the year. Five years later the same house made the record price of €5.07 million. Two weeks ago 27 Ailesbury Road, a Victorian semi-detached house, broke the price barrier when it sold for €9 million.

Up to the end of last year you could buy a Ranelagh redbrick or a Strain-built house in Glasnevin for under €800,000. Now they are starting to tip the €1 million mark and maybe set to rise further with 5 Iona Drive in Glasnevin, an impressive five-bed double-fronted detached house, selling for €2.15 million last month.

Property doesn't come cheap outside Dublin either, but you can generally get a bit more for your €1 million. Ganly Walters has set a price tag of €1.1 million for the palatial Hollymount in Rathmullen, Co Donegal, a large Victorian house on 10 acres with a tree-lined avenue and views of Lough Swilly. Carbery House in Dunmanway in Cork - a seven-bed 650sq m (7,000sq ft) Georgian house on an acre - is on the market through Sherry Fitzgerald O'Neill. The Oaks at Curraghchase Forest Park near Adare in Co Limerick has an asking price of €950,000. On four acres, it has an open area that estate agents Rooney Auctioneers say would be suitable for a heli pad.

One can only surmise what the average millionaire will be able to buy in Dublin in another nine years.

A pokey one-bed apartment in the outer suburbs? Or maybe a townhouse on a new development bought under the local authority's affordable housing scheme? Will the semi-d become the preserve of the multimillionaire while only the super rich will afford the luxury of living detached?