Apartment prices take off

SEPTEMBER’S selling season and new product launches are in full swing - but the message for first-time buyers is ‘prepare to leave town’.

City and even suburban apartment prices are forcing first-time buyers in Cork and Dublin to the satellite towns and burgeoning villages and condemning them to long commutes.

Dublin buyers already know this to their cost. Now, Cork is in hot pursuit with an exodus of young buyers made certain by rocketing prices.

Prices of new apartments coming on stream in Cork city are ranging upwards from a now standard €300,000 to as much as €430,000 for top end two-beds.

Yet, the comfortable purchase and borrowing level for many fledgling buyers is closer to the €275,000 mark, rising to €300,000. Only a small percentage can rise above this.

An absolutely premium product launch, some 42 units at Douglas House, has laid down a new quality residential marker for Cork, but has attracted only the very well-heeled investor and trader-down who are clearly not price conscious.

The Bride View Development scheme (above) around the period house on Maryborough Hill has seen buyers flocking, with one-beds at €320,000, two-beds at €410,000 and €440,000, three-beds at €600,000 and four chic 1,300/1,400 sq ft apartments in the reconfigured main house at €750,000 a go. Selling agents are Tom O’Keeffe of Bride View, jointly with Thomas J O’Driscoll.

The level of design, landscaping, external finishes and detailing “raises the bar for development in Cork,” says BVD’s Declan O’Mahony - and he’s right. Over half have sold already, in the first week and buyers haven’t quibbled about prices.

Launching this weekend is the more mass-market, high-density scheme Eden, Cork city’s biggest ever single scheme, with 550 units to be built at the former Ursuline Convent grounds in Blackrock (story inside).

Prices there start from €330,000 for a 750 sq ft two-bed, with joint agents Lisney in Cork, and Hooke & MacDonald in Dublin.

Developers O’Brien and O’Flynn have released 36 apartments in a new design called The Mall at their 500-unit plus Maryborough Woods development: 800 sq ft apartments start at €330,000, rising to €380,000, with Thomas J O’Driscoll.

Nearby, at Mount Oval, O’Flynn Construction have new two-bed townhouses of 760 sq ft at €305,000 with Sherry FitzGerald, while the same agents have 860 sq ft apartment at Jacob’s Island Mahon Point, prices from €305,000.

In the city centre, Camden Wharf apartments, launched this week with Frank V Murphy and Adrianna Hegarty (see inside) average from €295,000 to €315,000 for compact 600 sq ft two-beds.

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