Two dozen properties hit the ‘Big Note’ in 2019, more than double the amount of the previous year in Cork, writes Tommy Barker
TAKING the €1m price mark — the ‘Big Note’ — as a certain arbiter of how a year has performed in the property price stakes, it looks as if Cork city and county had a good year; better than ever, quite possibly, or at least since the ‘Boom Years’ of yore.
A variant of the ‘proper’ or official Property Price Register which allows for searches to be done and defined by selected price categories shows 35 residential sales in Cork during 2019 making in excess of €1m.
However winnowing that gross figure of 35 transactions down, and excluding bulk sales (eg, several apartments together in the one transaction) indicates that about two dozen sales of individual Cork properties have breached the €1m barrier, some dramatically so.
Notably, that’s about twice the tally for the same 12-month span back in 2018, when about 12 of the 27 recorded €1m-plus 2018 Cork deals were of multiple units ... clearly ’18 was a busy year for the banks and the funds cashing in their chips into a rising market.
So, as the current year grinds to a halt, and there’s fatigue from Boris, Brexit and The Big imPeach Donald, the evidence is that it’s been an uneven year in both the national and the more localised Cork property markets.
In Cork terms, especially, 2019 is probably demarcated by lots of activity at the upper, and at the lower end, with the latter driven by first-time buyers and pent up demand, with an evident increase in new homes supply finally feeding in.
However, there was a lot of ‘stickiness’ in the mid/trading up section of the house market, with many would-be buyers and movers constrained by Central Bank lending restrictions which saw them needing 20% of a trade-up purchase wedge differential in cash.
And, then, there was a very solid upper end too, almost surprisingly so, looking back now at the year’s performance, with much of it driven by buyers from overseas, not all of whom had Irish roots or businesses or backgrounds.
What wasn’t surprising, at all, was the strong performance of the ‘Hardy Annuals’ in terms of location. Kinsale once more topping the list for sheer numbers of €1m plus sales, scoring close to ten, including one brand new build, in a development — Winters Hill at Convent Garden.
West Cork had the single biggest Cork city or county sale, at over €5.7m for a castle in Glandore, with an overseas buyer couple with some local roots picking up Kilfinnan Castle, off-market.
That stand-out deal, reckoned to be in the Top Three of Irish Country Homes sales nationally, was done by Skibbereen-based Charles McCarthy & Co, and the ‘castle’ on 25 acres had been the holiday home of the late, London-based engineering company guru Bernard McNicholas.
Skib-based McCarthys also sold another of west Cork’s top period homes, the Victorian Reena Dhuna on 11 acres by Church Cross and the River Ilen, Skibbereen, showing on the Register at €1.765m, selling to UK buyers.
Also in the Munster ‘castle sale’ category was the high-end and luxurious Carrigacunna Castle by the river Blackwater at Killavullen, on the market with Michael H Daniels and which sold for its UK vendors to US buyers for €1.48m, according to the Price Register.
Back down west Cork way, at Reenabulliga, Adrigole, a property — Ard na Mara — shows up at €849,000. But, that price only tells a part of the overall story of a c €1.5m-€1.7m price range total sale, as it involved an estate of 100 acres, with a second house on the property which also separately recorded at €275,000. That deal was done by Ron Kruger of Kinsale-based Engel & Volkers who also scored €1.79m for Ardcarrig, Kinsale see Kinsale section, next page.
Also down in the chicest strip of west Cork, and coastal, was the €2.1m/€2.2m paid for Cuan Bán on the Colla Road in Schull. It was the former family home of the late businessman Bernie Cahill and was sold by local agent James Lyons O’Keeffe; it featured in these pages a year ago, but only surfaced on the Register in April of this year
Excluding Glandore’s Kilfinnan Castle sale, an absolute outlier at its stonking €5.7m, Cork’s largest sale for 2019 seems to be the eventual purchase of Glanmire Rectory, just east of the city, in a sale which finally closed in recent weeks.
Dating to 1903, and built by the Church of Ireland’s Temporalities Board to a familiar design template (it’s nearly a ringer for the sublime former C of I Rectory on the Blackrock Road) the red-brick private 4,500 sq ft home on 5.8 acres (plus gate lodge) had gone to market in 2015, guiding €2.6 million, in excellent order.
But, it took nearly four years to find a buyer, who eyed it for development scope, and since then it now has been joined in its valley setting on the fringe of Glanmire by the 600-home scheme — Ballinglanna — being developed by the O’Flynn Group.
Glanmire Rectory has fetched €2.3m via agents Michael O’Donovan and Catherine McAuliffe of Savills Cork (it’s not yet on the Register). It has been bought by Aperee Cork, part of the BlackBee Healthcare Fund, and is expected to form the core of a care-home facility, plus a Montessori school.
Closer again to Cork city, suburban Blackrock was the strongest performer in the urban house sale stakes, with five individual private home sales over €1m.
What was especially interesting in Blackrock was the fact that two of those sales were of very different homes, set side-by-side at Ballintemple off the main Blackrock Road, and which sold separately, for a combined €3.5m.
The hideaway period home Temple Lawn House made €1.75m according to the Price Register via Johnny O’Flynn of Sherry FitzGerald for its trading-down vendors who were building in a retained garden portion. Its new owner who lives overseas currently also has the builders in, doing a sizeable upgrade at further, considerable expense.
Right alongside, the vastly extended neighbouring property Coraville, TempleLawn, made a recorded €1.85m, via Trish Stokes of Lisney, and apparently was ‘bought back in’ by a later generation of previous family owners of the original, pre-extended Coraville.
No 144 Blackrock Road, a modern build, was an early 2019 arrival on the Register, at €1.4 million, sold by Frank V Murphy & Co, while close by a low-slung 1980s bungalow called Modeligo made €1.13m, in a very swift take-up, via Sheila O’Flynn of Sherry FitzGerald.
Sherry Fitz’s city office had a clutch of other upper end sales, with 10 or so in the €750,000-€1m bracket, with a large family home, The Moorings, decades old but pristine, in Ballymah, Waterfall, making €915,000, nicely over its initial €850,000 AMV, and Derrylea, Menloe Gardens, made €842,500 via SF agent Ann O’Mahony.
Rounding up the Blackrock fistful of five €1m+ sales in 2019 was Kingsley, a detached on a very private corner site within Menloe Gardens. It made €1.24m via auctioneer Brian Olden of Cohalan Downing, and is the only €1m+ sale recorded of the dozen or so sales in the past decade within chi-chi Menloe. Its price was down to the fact it’s a modern one-off (a few older homes in Menloe have sold for €730,000/€850,000 only to be flattened and replaced.)
While not quite in the same price league, Cohalan Downing also sold out the Botanika development by Cleve Hill, at prices for top new homes in excess of €800,000 (among the Register’s 24 recorded Botanika sales they show at €750,000 each and so those prices are minus VAT.)
Cohalan Downing also sold Lavender Heights, a 7,500 sq ft home off the Rochestown Road complete with swimming pool and gym, on acres of grounds, for €1.35m, and were joint agents with Hugh McPhillips of Marshs auctioneers on Lisheen, Woodview, off the main Douglas Road and Well Road.
Another family home in the greater Douglas area to make over €1m in 2019 was 4 Maryborough Orchard, marketed last year by Lisney’s Trish Stokes at €1.4m, and showing now at the start of 2019 at a recorded €1.25m on the Price Register.
Further out in Upper Rochestown, No 4 Eyrecourt, a luxurious home in a small gated development, made €1.25 million via estate agent Dennis Guerin of Frank V Murphy & Co. His vendors there had bought Ardnagreena, on the main Blackrock Road from him in 2018 for €1.5m.
Ardnagreena was the top Cork city sale of 2018, and the builders have been busy there ever since.
Also sold by Mr Guerin was a hideaway detached off the Farranlea Road for just over €1m, while agent John Barry of Frank V Murphy & Co got an impressive €1.45m for Ardmanagh, a large period home at the crown of the hill at Glenbrook, overlooking the Lee and Cross-River Ferry. The Register shows it at €1.04m as that excluded the value of the acres of land it stood on.
Ardmanagh was bought by a young family, who had put their own colourful, bespoke home, Creek Cottage at Raffeen Creek, on the other side of Monkstown, on the market in June to facilitate their purchase.
Built in the mid-2000s, Creek Cottage was offered at €640,000 by auctioneer Timothy Sullivan in June of 2019, and rightly featured extensively in these pages. Mr Sullivan says it was the busiest and most viewed property he’s had in a long while and a sale is concluding, at c €800,000.
On the wider front, Mr Sullivan comments “elsewhere, the number of viewings was way back, and accordinglyso too were bidders, so slower generally though with only a marginal fall back in prices and everything sells eventually.”
Tim Sullivan approached the €1m mark when he got €960,000 for Dundanion House on Church Road, Blackrock; he got €803,000 for Barnstead House directly across the road from it, while within the 1970s Barnstead development he got more than €700k for the detached No 21, and the gem Bayswater Cottage on Castle Road made € 825,000.