Lisnalee is top sale of the year

The south-west bucked national trends with rises in 2015 house prices. Tommy Barker looks at the biggest sellers.
Lisnalee is top sale of the year

Rises in Irish house prices started to moderate in 2015, with a slight dip (0.1% in the third quarter) in the once-runaway Dublin market the first quarterly fall in the Capital since 2012. By end 2015 average house prices across the country probably rose in low, single-digit terms.

However, the south-west region bucked that trend, rising on average by 8% in Cork and Kerry from September ’14 to September ’15; by the end of 2015 Cork city prices may have risen over a full year in double-digit terms, by about 10% it’s reckoned.

Notable features of the year were lack of stock to sell, and a slowing in trading-up activity by year’s end, as the impact of Central Bank lending rules to first- time buyers (FTBs) put a brake on volume of sales at the lower end of the market, with a knock-on effect in the mid-market, and most markedly in the capital.

Having said that, the first-time buyer segment was busy, especially in the earlier stages of ’15, and the upper end proved very strong, with regular breaches once more of the €1m barrier in Cork city, Kinsale and in West Cork.

In Limerick, the 23,000 sq ft renovated Castle Oliver on 15 acres fetched €2.6 million as Munster’s largest country estate sale (see p8): it hosted Kim Kardashian and Kanye West during their Irish honeymoon last year. Meanwhile, a modern build at Adare Manor Demesne fetched €1.25m, and heading up Limerick city values was a 1990s build, with 3,200 sq ft on the North Circular Road called La Chasse, making €1.15 million.

Two Cork City homes sailed past the €2 million price level in 2015, in the stalwart suburbs of Douglas and Blackrock, and close on one dozen city and suburban pads fetched over €1 million. This super-strong performance at the market’s very upper level is in strong contrast with 2014, which was a blip and anomaly when only a handful of Kinsale and country estates topped €1m in Cork.

Making €2.4 million was Curraghbeg, a run-down 1920s home hidden away on 1.5 acres by Woodview off the Douglas Road, and that was way over its €1.85 million asking price via Savills when first put to market way back, in June 2014. Curraghbeg was a slow burn, but finally ignited in a bidding flurry, going 30% over its guide to a buyer with an IT background.

Then, as 2015 went on, that sum was topped by a Blackrock sale, Lisnalee, at €2.6 million, off-market via Sherry FitzGerald.

So, 2015 was a return to form, and a bit more too, and the year was also notable for the number of market arrivals with million-euro and multi-million euro asking prices. Needless to say, not all sold, as some vendors over-egged on asking prices, sensing a rising market, and buyers with millions in hand, many of them returning emigrants, wiht Dollars and Sterling to splash.

Kinsale once more more than held its head up with several sales in the seven-figure price league, including a rapid deal at €1.2m of Ard Na Lir by the Man Friday in Scilly with Sherry FitzGerald, while the nearby September, in Ardbrack and marketed by Cohalan Downing, fetched €1.1m.

And, Lisney had another well-sited Ardbrack home which went for just under €1m, to a local Kinsale buyer trading. A house called Stirke’s Nest on Compass Hill is recorded as sold for €1.1 million, in what appears to be an off-market deal. The vendor only bought it in 2012, for €425,000, and got planning for another house on the grounds, proving a nice flip in a few short years.

The Georgian home Dromderrig on Compass Hill was the highest price recorded in Kinsale in 2015, in a deal by Cohalan Downing. It shows up on the Price Register at €1.61 million.

TOP SALE

However, there was another Cork house, also period, which went almost €1 million more than Kinsale’s best, as the city surged back to form.

The most expensive house sale in Cork city and suburbs last year was Lisnalee, a Georgian home on Barrington’s Avenue, which sold for €2.6 million, off-market via Sherry FitzGerald.

It’s been quite a few years since a Cork city home made this sort of sum, and in fact it was the second time this very privately-set quality period home sold without going to the open market in the past 15 years. Lisnalee was bought this time around by a family already living in the Blackrock/Ballintemple locale who had wanted to trade up.

The Lisnalee deal was done by Sheila O’Flynn of Sherry FitzGerald in what it turned out was a sort of domino/knock-on chain of sales for the agency in that area.

The family ‘trading down’ and selling Lisnalee for €2.6m have since bought Kilmona, an immaculately upgraded and extended Victorian semi-detached home on the Marina, for just under €1 million (it’s in at €980,000 on the Price Register), and which had been on the market with Sherry FitzGerald who sold the other ‘half’ of this classic Edwardian pairing the previous year.

Then, as a third leg on this trio of sales, the family who bought Lisnalee successfully sold their own upgraded home, another period Blackrock property called Arundel.

It made bang-on its asking price when it featured here back in June with Sherry FitzGerald, selling for a reported €1.1m. Arundel had a great, contemporary rear extension, and top interiors, which combined to give it strong buying appeal for families keen on the location. What’s remarkable about the sale was this was a mid-terraced home, not a detached, or even semi-detached. It cost this reporter a lost €5 bet, when it made over the €1m barrier.

With its genteel air, housing mix and overall exclusivity, Blackrock carried the flag for best prices in ’15: another example was the 250-year-old gem Northcliffe House on the Marina, fetching €1.25m with Sherry Fitz, while Savills sold a Castle Road end-terrace called Lysanne for an even €900,000.

Coming to market in 2015 with Blackrock addresses and cachet, and period roots but which have yet to sell were Menloe House, and its lodge, guiding €1.8m with Savills (under offer,) as well as Woodsgift, with Sherry FitzGerald, guiding €1.75 and also under offer.

No other Cork suburb came close to matching Blackrock: Douglas’s Curraghbeg at €2.4 million, came closest, while ‘Douglas’ address results of €1.9m and €5.8m on the price register refer to apartment block sales at Carrs Hill.

Just hitting the €1m level late in the year was the Hettyfield detached, Glen House, which had very determined bidding: it launched low, at €725,000 with Cohalan Downing, and sold high, making an even €1m. Earlier, the same Hettyfield location saw a sale where vendors who lopped off their back garden for a site to trade down to sold their home called Glencorran, via Sherry FitzGerald, for €655,000.

Also in Hettyfield, agents Jeremy Murphy Associates sold an upgraded mid-1900s home, Corrin, for €650,000, an exceptional price as it had its bedroom quota reduced upstairs by it owners, so effectively was a three-bed semi-d, with swagger. And, up the way by Boreenmanna Road, Mr Murphy sold a detached four-bed needing renewal for €550,000: its buyers have since decided to knock it and start again, so effectively it was €550k for a site.

Having had four large one-off c 3,200 sq ft homes built in its 2.5 acres of ground overlooking Lough Mahon, the period Ravenscourt House appeared briefly on a property website for sale in 2014, and as swiftly it disappeared: now, it’s on the Price Register as selling for €1.1m by October 2015.

Not too much top stock came for sale along the main Douglas Road, where 2015 saw houses bought a year or two earlier at ‘knock-down prices’ (albeit €500-600k, and one at €755k) for the location starting major rebuilds and refurbishments. One of the stronger sales of the year just ended was Mossman, a contemporary build on the main Douglas Road, bought for €900,000 via Lisney by a Cork pharma sector director working overseas, but aiming to retire to Cork.

Rochestown produced at least two sales over €1m: a modern 6,000 sq ft build No 3 Eyrecourt went to market in January, guiding €1.375m and is now registered as sold, at €1.25 million via Sherry FitzGerald.

And, one of those classic Rochestown Road homes, Ben Truda (the former home of arts patron, collector, lawyer and one-time Lord Mayor Gerald Goldberg) on 0.75 of an acre sold after full and sensitive revamp for €1.575 million, over its €1.4m guide with Cohalan Downing.

Its vendor has kept a site at the back for a trade-down build, a trend very much in evidence in this section of the Rochestown Road in the past five years.

Another home bid over its asking was the period, doer-upper on 1.75 acres Mount Rivers, on the Castle Road in Blackrock. First it was priced at €750,000, this was reduced to €700,000 and then with appetites whetted it got wind and bidding in its sale, and eventually sold for €1.07m via Cohalan Downing, with Matt Fallon as joint agent.

The Lindville estate in Ballintemple threw up some sales, showing evidence of price recovery, with two of the bigger homes changing hands, one making €735,000, via Timothy Sullivan, and another making €736,000, after 22 viewings with Cohalan Downing having launched at €635,000.

Despite all the IT employment surging through from Apple, EMC, VMWARE Voxpro and others, the western suburbs and ‘hospital belt’ didn’t have too many show-stopping sales results.

No 44 Sundays Well, one of those beauties facing Fitzgerald Park and with gardens down to the river made €1.01 million, via agents Dominic Daly and Ganly Walters.

The show-stopper Woodlawn, one of Cork’s very finest homes and which went to market in September 2014 guiding €3.8 million, didn’t sell and is expected back on the market with a change of agent and a price drop in 2016, while the nearby Georgian gem Verulam with mews house and exquisite gardens came to market in autumn, guiding €1.85m with Sherry FitzGerald and will be viewed afresh in spring.

A house on the Model Farm Road called Drakesbank sold for €650,000, having guided at €475,000 via Cohalan Downing, who had 60 viewings attracted by the initial guide. By year’s end, a €1m-plus result was expected by the city end in an off-market deal of a period home, while Sherry FitzGerald were getting bidding into the €900,000s on a dormer close-by called Dunmahon.

Carrigrohane Castle had a low-key deal done in 2015, though has no visibility yet on the Price Register and it promptly got re-offered at €1.5 million, minus much of the land it now stands on.

Close to St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, an absolute hideaway of a home on walled grounds by the Bishop’s Palace called Vine Villa was picked up by a city professional as a family home, for €700,000 via Sherry FitzGerald, and was simply one of the most rare opportunities to come for sale in years.

East of the city, one of the best results of ’15 was East Ferry Lodge, with water frontage onto Cork harbour and which made €1.215m via local agents Sherry FitzGerald O’Donovan.

Water aspect and key quay location again proved an asset closer to Midleton town, where the modern-build Charleston Lodge at Bailick tipped past its €535,000 guide with agent James Colbert to fetch €550,000 — it’s the first €500k-plus sale in Midleton in years, Mr Colbert says.

Moving to West Cork, agents Charles P McCarthy sold the Georgian Bow Hall, Castletownshend village for €1.2 million, and a headland home at Drishane Point for €1.36 million, as well as Roaringwater House by Church Cross for €925,000 including furniture. They also sold the Marine Hotel Glandore for €1.75m, and are seeking €2.5m for former AIB chief executive David Duffy’s West Cork pad.

Also going over the €1m mark in West Cork was the recently deceased actor Maureen O’Hara’s beloved Lugdine Park on 35 acres in Glengarriff, fetching €1.6 million, having guided at €2.3 million, and Tony O’Reilly’s Glandore home Shorecliffe also sold with the same agents Sherry FitzGerald O’Neil, with Sherry Fitz affiliate Christies, for about €1.5 million.

Shorecliffe was on six acres, with three houses, tennis court, swimming pool, and waterfrontage and had an asking price at one stage of €2.75 million.

The former tycoon’s Dublin city centre Georgian home in Dublin sold earlier for €3.2 million, while O’Reilly’s magnificent Castlemartin Estate and stud in Kildare was bought by Irish American billionaire John Malone for €26.5 million via Knight Frank and Jordan Estates — the biggest estate and residential sale of the year, and the end of an O’Reilly era.

In Dublin, top sale was the legend that is Sorrento House, fetching €10.5 million, down from an asking price of €12m via Linsey and Sherry FitzGerald. On two acres in Dalkey, Sorrento House last sold in 1998, for a then-headline making €7.5m, had more than €10m lavished on it, and at one stage had an asking price of €30m.

And, that’s the sort of investment reportedly put into Co Cork’s most expensive and lavishly restored home, Castlehyde by its entertainer-owner Michael Flatley. The 1760s Palladian 14-bed mansion, on 100 acres on the River Blackwater has a €20m asking price via Goffs and Knight Frank. Will Castlehyde feature here, next year, as a done deal?

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