Tommy Barker says this spacious fivebed is sure to float the boat of of holiday home hunters
The holiday home market seems to have bounced back in West Cork’s ‘yachtie’ coastal communities like Baltimore and Schull, evidence of a resurging economy, perhaps.
In Baltimore, for example, the Price Register shows three recent transactions over the €500k mark in the village and its vicinity, with one of those, Ard na Greine on the bridge accessible Ringarogy Island, making €620,000 late last year.
Before that, in 2017, two of the stronger sales were at €470,000 and €520,000, but before that, and going back to 2011, just one Baltimore property had even breached the €400,000 threshold, and that was when the White House at The Cove made €600,000, in 2013.
So, with that rising tide as a background, what of the hopes of 9 Castlefield, a development of architect-designed, upmarket homes, done around 2005, comprising some semi-ds and sizeable detacheds, built around the economy’s peak and before the crash.
No 9 is one of the first detacheds to come for sale in years, says estate agent Maeve McCarthy of Charles P McCarthy auctioneers in Skibbereen.
The Price Register shows three sales in Castlefields, but they were the semis, at prices of €280,000 in 2012, and up to €325,000 by 2015.
Now, the 2,300 sq ft five-bed No 9 is one of the big, detached ‘uns, and is guided on early-2019 launch at €550,000 by McCarthys, jointly with Catherine McAuliffe of Savills in Cork city; they expect demand because of the scheme and location’s strengths.
It’s a flexible five-bed, all dressed in stone to pick up on the theme of the nearby Dún na Séad restored signature castle (pictured ‘before’ and ‘after,’ below): the castle’s an historic sort of gem, set in Baltimore’s crown, overlooking the harbour and ferries’ coming and goings: No 9 Castlefield “provides generous and flexible accommodation that can adjust to suit changing family needs”, say the agents. Sort of ‘dormer-plus’ in looks, it’s got a double-aspect kitchen, linking to a large (21’ by 14’) airy living room, with high, pitched and pine-clad ceilings to the left of a L-shaped hall.
Also at ground level in this ‘wing’ is an en suite bedroom, and a guest WC, while a central, feature hall tie-in joins this left wing to the gable-fronted smaller wing, which houses another en suite bedroom, while up overhead are three bedrooms, and shower room.
Accessible from the front exterior is a utility with a staircase up to a large, 19’ by 16’ storage space — a loft for sails, quite possibly? for the buyer niche at which these Castlefield homes are pitched given Baltimore’s close links to all things marine and sailing, while the quarter acre has enough space too for a boat or RIB trailer.
The joint agents say the setting is super-convenient for all of Baltimore services and amenities, bars and restaurants, and which now include the Michelin starred restaurant, Mews.
At the solidly-built No 9, the rooms are well proportioned and auctioneer Maeve McCarthy adds that “a family can really spread out and enjoy their own space”. Most interest is expected to come from viewers based in Dublin and in Cork cities, buying for holiday/second-home usage, and No 9 is being sold by a Cork family who had over a decade of holiday use at this accommodating base, right at the back of the Castlefield scheme.
A web search shows two other similar sized Castlefield detacheds available to let, each capable of sleeping 10, and peak-season rents sought are up to €1,700 per week in July an August.
VERDICT: A good test of confidence in one of West Cork’s chic settings. Agents McCarthys have the wind in their sales after the reported sale of Kilfinnan Castle in Glandore in recent weeks, an absolute price record for a Cork coastal home, at an unconfirmed €6m.