A global investment company has been involved in the acquisition of a new development of 112 houses in north Dublin in order to rent them out.
Round Hill Capital is the same company which also bought most of the houses in a Maynooth, Co Kildare, housing estate.
The company, together with SFO Capital Partners, has acquired Bay Meadows in Dublin 15, which it describes as “high-quality suburban family homes”.
On the website for the new estate, the companies who have acquired the estate say they are “proud to present Bay Meadows, a brand new first let development of 112 (single family) homes located in Hollystown, Dublin 15”.
The news of the acquisition of another housing estate for the rental market by Round Hill Capital comes after it emerged it acquired the majority of the 174 houses in a new estate in Maynooth.
Bay Meadows will comprise a mix of two-, three-, and four-bedroom homes. The first phase will be completed later this month, with the final phase completed in early 2022, according to the company.
Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said on Tuesday that he did not approve of investment funds purchasing almost entire new estates.
“Do investors have a role here, in housing in Ireland? Yes, they do as they do in most western European countries. But what I would say is that where funds are coming in and taking homes away from families, is a concern of mine.”
However, he warned about any move to ban investment ventures outright. Options included exploring a ban on block-buying new homes for the private rental market outside of city centre cores.
The company has become a significant player in the Irish buy-to-rent property market in recent years. Before moving into house acquisition it had acquired (either by itself or in joint ventures) hundreds of apartments, and four developments tailored for student accommodation with a total of 1,200 bedrooms.
That included a €123 million deal to acquire 297 high-quality apartments at Blackwood Square in Northwood, Santry as well as acquisitions of student accommodation developments in the Liberties, Dublin 8; in Bandon Road in Cork; in Bridgefield, Santry; and in Curaheen Point, Co Cork.
In September 2019, The Irish Times reported that 12 two- and three-bed yellow-brick units at the housing development Bay Meadows had been sold off plans to private buyers at the Dublin 15 site, with prices from €289,500 for the two beds and from €330,000 for the three beds.
Opposition parties strongly criticised the sale on the basis it would reduce the stock for first-time buyers. Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said “the problem is short-term, high-yield vulture funds incentivised by Government policy” .
However, a spokesman for Round Hill Capital said on Tuesday: “We are committed to investing in Ireland to increase the supply of quality homes available to rent, working alongside local developers and agents.”
The company said the acquisition was reflective of the wider growth of the private rental sector investment market in Ireland over the past three years.
Michael Bickford, founder and CEO at Round Hill Capital, said in a statement last week: “The counter-cyclical nature of the rental housing market means it is resilient to market cycles, as has been proven amid the economic uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As such this transaction is yet further evidence of the strong appeal of the Irish build-to-rent sector for institutional capital, attracted by its resilient, long-term yields as well as the wider growth of the private rental sector investment market in Ireland over the past three years.
“We look forward to building on the first success of this venture to further expand our portfolio across Ireland.”