Deals done despite dearth of money

Property editor Tommy Barker rounds up some of Munster’s, and the country’s biggest house movers in 2010.

LEVELS of deals were done, prices stayed down, but property did shift in the generally moribund year that was 2010.

Around 50 Dublin houses sold for €1 million-plus (see separate report) and over a dozen made over €2m. Top sale nationwide was Newberry Hall demesne in Co Kildare, a Palladian mansion on 444 acres, sold to a young neighbouring farmer for €7.5m, while Kilkenny’s Kilmurry House at Thomastown made about €2.5m, via Knight Frank.

Down further south, Cork, had a representative scattering of €1m-plus sales despite the doom and gloom and tight lending across all market sectors.

Over half a dozen €1m-plus house sales (the Big Note, as it is sometimes called) went through in Cork in 2010. Top two of the sellers in Cork were a city and a county house, each making over €1.5m, each after previous agreed deals had collapsed at advanced stages due to buyer nervousness.

The two were Rosscarbery’s Cregane Manor, and suburban Douglas’s Orchard House, making around €1.6m in early summer.

This latter, 5,000sq ft pristine faux Victorian home, in the grounds of Maryborough House Hotel, had a bid of €2m rejected by the vendors last January.

Sale-agreed and almost over the line in May at about €1.5m, the deal that had been struck was suddenly abandoned, to the vendors’ chagrin: yet, almost incredibly, within 48 hours agent Denis Guerin of Frank V Murphy & Co had a new buyer lined up, for a little bit more money, and had contracts signed, with a business buyer from China getting their hands on one of the city’s most exactingly finished new homes.

Another windy would-be buyer also pulled out about this time last year from the purchase of Cregane Manor, a genuine Victorian period beauty, on 36 acres, with three smaller dwellings on sensational seaside grounds near Rosscarbery, West Cork. It had featured in these pages as a 2009 deal of the year, however, its US-based buyer pulled out at the very last minute, after a slew of negative press reports in US media about the state of the economy.

It took many laboured months, but Sherry FitzGerald in Cork and Clonakilty eventually found appreciative private Irish buyers at about the €1.5-€1.6m, level. The buyers’ bravery is rewarded with one of Munster’s very nicest, modest manor homes.

Also selling well in 2010 was Dereen House, a small period residence on 50 acres with lake, in Cork’s Lee Valley in Coachford. Agent Michael H Daniels found a Canadian buyer for a home that had been in US/Irish ownership, and it fetched over its downwards -revised price of €1.3m after the agent change. Mr Daniels also had a strong Kinsale area sale, of the 1700s period large cottage gem Annefield near Oysterhaven, for around €800,000.

Also in Kinsale auctioneer Pacelli Nolan, via KMS, got close to her €975,000 AMV for a Sandycove, Kinsale bungalow with great sea views, selling it within a matter of weeks after its exposure here, while again in Kinsale, Engel and Volkers also reported a swift three-week turn around to a deal on the harbour water’s edge No 4, The Terrace, Scilly, for a little under its €775,000 autumn asking price.

National agents Savills got a €1m Cork county period home away during 2010. Castlelyons House, home for over a decade to Austrian playwright Felix Mitterer, went for sale in 2009, guiding €1.5m. Previous owners to the Austrian’s care had been German and Russians and this time around it sold to Irish buyers, recent retirees from the city, in search of the good life, on great village grounds.

Also east of Cork city were a few strong Midleton sales, including a smart 2,300sq ft five-bed bungalow on a well-tended acre, making over €500,000: its estate agent, Adrianna Hegarty also sold the former Cloyne home of hurling great Christy Ring, Kilcrone Cottage on an acre, for around €300,000. Renovated with architectural input, it had a massive surge of dozens of viewings after exposure here, and went ‘sale agreed’ within weeks of going to market.

Back up in the€1m selling bracket in depressed 2010 were a Douglas house on Woodview, off the Well Road, for over €1m, sold by Dennis Guerin of Frank V Murphy & Co, who also had one of the two Horsehead pastiche house sales of the year, where one went just under, and one just over, the €1m barrier. The same agent also had some key mid-to upper market deals seen through in Woolhara Park, where a dated but real box-ticker 1,450sq ft semi-d made c€550,000, and the same sort of sum was paid on the Model Farm Road for a similar-sized detached house.

Down markedly in price, but now sold, is the Endsleigh home Parkgarriffe, launched in 2007 with the high aim of €1.8m, this for a 2,400sq ft faux Tudor home in a niche cul de sac park off the Douglas Road. It changed agents in 2010, and sold for about €900,000 via Cohalan Downing whose other sales in the same price league include one on the Rochestown Road for around €750,000, and an Arts and Crafts home on College Road for about €800,000, likely to have had a buying appeal for neighbouring and bordering property owners the Bon Secours hospital and La Retrait.

A restored Victorian semi-d on the Blackrock Road made about €500,000 via Cohalan Downing.

Prices above €600,000 were secured by ERA Downey McCarthy, for 6 The View, Broadale a detached four-bed of 2,200 sq ft home, plus Evergreen, a high tech, detached house at Killeens.

Lisneys sold a 4,000sq ft trading -up family home on a one-fifth acre site in the Arvalee enclave in Frankfield, Douglas, for around €900,000 after a marked price reduction from its 2008 launch figure.

A pristine period terraced home on Bellvue Villas, Tivoli, sold in 2010 with Sherry FitzGerald for a sub-€800,000 figure, also down from a far higher AMV almost two years previously, and the same agents have been associated with a late 2010 off-market deal, kept very quiet, with the €1m-plus sale of a Victorian house on good grounds in Montenotte.

Also in Cork city’s northside, Woodwards sold an untouched period home on Adelaide Terrace off Gardiner’s Hill, an over-basement end terrace house of 2,500sq ft with rear mews. It made over its €350,000 guide, and was one of a handful of doer uppers which changed hands at a time when banks were slow to lend to houses needing work and further spending.

In Waterford, sales above €500,000 were in short supply, though Tallow’s Lisnabrin, a period home on 25 acres sold quickly in the upper €700,000s via Knight Frank, who also sold a Tipperary town period home on 64 acres, Pegsborough House, for about €1m.

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