House of the week

YOU’D want to hurry — Kenmare’s new-homes scheme, The Lodges, has wind in its sails and in its sales. Perhaps it’s not entirely accurate to describe the scheme as new, as a showhouse opened six years ago, back in Aug 2007, when prices for the larger, four-beds were €780,000 and €795,000.

House of the week

That’s when the market had started its unravelling and tough times hit developers Coolfadda Developments, its investors and many of Coolfadda’s other schemes.

Now, in a much changed world, and with Nama at the helm, the 15 houses are set to sell, at prices sharply lower than the original targets, from 1,500 sq ft three-beds priced from €200,000 to four-beds of 2,100 sq ft, at €265,000.

They won’t all have the bells and whistles of the initial ‘07 launch, and while they are basically being offered as at ‘builder’s finish’ they are a bit more advanced than that, with kitchens already in place.

Auctioneer Tadgh Sullivan of DNG Timothy Sullivan in Kenmare, has been busy in the run-up to the sales launch. He started open viewings last weekend, and has the same opening times today and tomorrow, noon to 2 pm, and he expects to be just as busy. A number were booked prior to last weekend, and he’s extremely optimistic of a continuing take up because of the sheer value and the quality of the site.

“It’s the best site in Kenmare,” he asserts simply, “it’s warm and south-facing, sloping down towards the water, while the scheme is low density, all detached family three and four-bed homes to a high design standard.”

Design was by PLM Architects in Cork and Kenmare, and houses have concrete floors at both levels, zoned heating, pressurised water system and very extensively and naturally landscaped grounds, with rainwater harvesting, boundaries with indigenous planting and views across the bay to Sheen Falls Hotel (sold earlier this year for €5m) and the Beara Peninsula.

Location is on the Cork/Kilgarvan approach to Kenmare, just by the golf club and waterside course, near the old Killowen church, and all of Kenmare’s bars, shops and restaurants are a walk away.

Given that there’s only 15 being sold (22 were planned) agent Tadgh Sullivan expects sales and occupation to follow swiftly enough (though elsewhere Nama have been known to be slow wrapping up agreed deals).

Kenmare had a surfeit of new second-home and retirement homes built and sold during the boom, but the Lodges are head and shoulders above most — at a price comparable with average house stock.

Interest has come from those keen on a second or holiday home and for more permanent residential and retirement use. Back when Kenmare’s building surge boomed, the heritage town on the Ring of Kerry was trumpeted as one of the best places in the world in which to retire. Now, thanks to a two-thirds drop in price from 2007’s high hopes, the Lodges are ready to fit that bill, and the average budget of others.

The town has traditionally attracted a lot of Munster buyers, and the buying pattern is expected to be replicated when these 15 sales are secured.

VERDICT: For such a great Kenmare site, there are bargains to be had, but don’t forget to leave some extra cash in hand for final finishes.

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