Country houses in favour

A RETURN to value is seeing activity inching forward on Ireland’s stalled country house market.

That’s according to estate agent Michael H. Daniels, who brings several new period summer homes to market, on the back of a couple of just-completed successful sales. Now sold, to Canadian buyers who will invest further in an upgrade, is Dereen House, on 50 acres in the Lee Valley near Dripsey and Coachford, half an hour from Cork city.

It first went up for sale in May 2009, guiding €2.2 million, and was relaunched with a change of agent. The 3,200 sq ft package, with lake, walled gardens and woodland, is likely to have made around €1.5m, via Mr Daniels. Also finding a buyer, but in the sub€-1m category, was the 1700s, postcard pretty 3,000 sq ft house Annefield, at Oysterhaven near Kinsale. When launched, back in May 2008, it had a €1.75m AMV.

On these few sales, plus several others reported from other agents in the sector (eg Kilkenny’s Kilmurry House making €2.5m, down from €4m, and €750,000-plus being secured for Tallow’s Lisnabrin) show “the country house market may be beginning to stabilise.”

“Enquiry levels are now at their highest since the downturn in the sector in 2008 and I am hopeful that we may be seeing a beginning of a return to some sort of normality. It is fair to say that those intending to locate here or relocate elsewhere will not put these decisions on hold indefinitely. The reasons why buyers of country houses have always chosen to buy here have not changed – but prices certainly have,” asserts Daniels.

“Irish country properties are once again being perceived as representing good value by overseas buyers, with UK and US enquiries currently to the fore, following a decade or more of being increasingly priced out of the market,” he added.

A new north Cork listing set to test his thesis may be Blossomfort House, near Ballyclough, Mallow in north Cork.

The Georgian house, possibly a dower house for the Longfield family of Longueville House, needs upgrading and spending on top of its €750,000 AMV. It’s on 15 acres, with four bed, three reception rooms and 3,500 sq ft of space.

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