First flagged as a benchmark transaction almost a year ago, the end result now is a not-too-shabby €14,500 per acre.
Castle Farm, the 167-acre parcel of prime tillage ground located off the equally prime Currabinny Road near Carrigaline, in Co Cork, was sold following subtle negotiations through joint agents Savills and Irish and European.
The agents have concluded the sale of the land in one lot to two prominent, Cork City developer/ investors, Pat Hegarty and Danny O’Keeffe, (the latter also purchased the late Judge Sean O’Leary’s 50-acre property at Carrigrohane, just outside Cork City).
And while it took the best part of nine months to emerge as a confirmed sale, this disposal of this particular property suggests investment in farmland is a hot trend.
The prime tillage farm, with portions of the land running right up to Carrigaline’s town boundary, is ripe for rezoning in the long term, and already has around 3.7 acres zoned for development.
What is interesting about this sale is the investment angle.
The 167 acres was bought by non-farmers, and while the sum paid is believed to be close to €14,500 per acre, or just over €2.4m in total, €2.7m had been quoted as a guide price.
It would appear that at this stage in our economy the safe money is breaking cover and, critically, it’s being invested in land.
Reports conclude that the property will be farmed — but probably in a long-handed way by its non-farming owners, expecting perhaps that this top quality, south Cork tillage farm should eventually show a return in more than crop or livestock values.
The investment bears out the latest financial topic du jour — the wisdom of investing in farmland for tax efficiency which we’ve dealt with in these pages already.
In this particular case, the proximity of Carrigaline makes it a no-brainer for those prepared for a medium to long term investment, with low tax liability under current regulations. And because it’s a land sale, there’s no inclusion in the property price register either, to mark the spot, so to speak.
Farmland is hot property at the moment, but the lessons of the last five years shouldn’t be overlooked.
The Castle Farm land is located between Church Road and Fernhill Road in Carriga-line and has access onto the Currabinny road and the Rock Road. This sale followed an off-market agreement in spring last year for another large farm in the Monkstown area which changed hands for the then record-breaking price of €15,000 per acre.
Castle Farm, which includes a residence, was formerly part of Manor Park Homes portfolio of properties, which famously included Charlie Haughey’s Kinsealy estate, bought for €45m by his friend, Joe Moran, when the financial tide changed for the former taoiseach. The remainder of the estate of 250 acres and its mansion, Abbeville, sold recently for a reputed €5.5m.