Value for money, please

DESPITE economic gloom, there’s a strong market still for €1-million-plus homes in Cork city.

But buyers at this level are showing discretion, and only homes offering genuine value are finding new owners.

That's the clear message as a number of properties on the market since before Christmas have had asking prices reduced, and a few select sales are clocked up.

Sold in recent weeks is Ardfallen House, a Georgian home in Sunday's Well, which made close to €1.2 million through Cohalan Downing. Buyer was insurance agent and developer Richard Pratt.

Also sold is Tideaways, a Carrigaline waterside home owned by the late Denis Doyle, which went short of its 1 million guide through Woodwards. Other sources say it made about €900,000, and was bought by a city publican Pat Murphy, as a family home.

On the city's Blackrock Road, a house on large gardens has sale terms agreed at around 1 million, over its guide, but no details are being confirmed until contracts are secured.

And, in an unusual move, the former Arbutus Lodge hotel and an adjoining house have been bought for 1.8 million, with reports that buyer IT businessman and developer, Sean Keohane, intends to return the period property to private residential use.

He is likely to redevelop the adjoining property, also bought through Frank V Murphy Ltd, in a select residential scheme.

Most dramatically down in asking price, to try and secure a sale, is Carrig Cottage in Carrigrohane with 5,500 sq ft on 2.2 acres. It hit the market a year ago with a €2.5 million price guide. It now has a cool 1 million knocked off its price guide, and is an executor sale on behalf of late publican owner Patrick Peters.

Roy Keane viewed this property last year, in the height of his World Cup woes, but didn't pursue it to the point of purchase or even make an offer on it. In fact, the massive publicity around Keane's visit may have discouraged other bidders.

In the event, Lisney had an offer of €1.8 million some months ago which wasn't accepted, and now newly appointed agent Marcus Magnier of Jackson Stops in Dublin seeks excess €1.5 million.

Also down in asking price is Lotaville House in Tivoli. It is a 7,800 sq ft period home on four acres, with adjoining tower, two-bed gate lodge, one bed mews and tennis court.

Again, there's been a change of estate agents, and now selling are Johanna Murphy in Cobh, Victoria Murphy in Kinsale and Timothy Sullivan in Cork, who guide it at 1.4 million down from last September's 1.6 million.

A modern-built home in a dramatic woodland site overlooking Inniscara dam had its price guide reduced to under the 1 million level by Sherry FitzGerald who currently have active interest in it.

As the market shows that there are buyers prepared to go over the 1 million level only if the property merits the stretch, at least two very desirable homes are due to come publicly for sale in the next month before the expected summer lull: one is just under the €1 million mark, and the second is going to try and set new records, pitching in well over €2 million for what is being flagged as "the biggest and best."

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