Busy period buys

Overseas buyers are confidently once again snapping up country homes.

Overseas buyers are making a late, end- of- year splurge in buying top Irish and Munster homes, hailing from London and the UK, Japan, Singapore, the US — and Andorra.

The houses include Charles Haughey’s former home Abbeville in North Dublin via Sherry FitzGerald for about €5.5m, and former Howard Holdings’ boss Greg Coughlan’s Kinsale home Fastnet House. That sold via Malcolm Tyrrell of Cohalan Downing for €3m to a London-based Irish buyer, reportedly in the oil business. And, there’s a run of other Munster and Cork homes at, and up to, the €1m mark as the year comes to a close.

The markedly strong profile of buyers coming from overseas is noted by Sherry FitzGerald’s David Ashmore, who this week said nine of the top ten Irish mansion sales have been to overseas buyers, and endorsed by country homes agent Michael H Daniels, who has a trio of strong late 2013 results under his belt.

Mr Daniels confirms the €1m sale of Clonmeen House, Banteer, a 15,000 sq ft period home launched in these pages back in April. The buyer came from Singapore. Also just sold by Mr Daniels was the immaculate Kilcolman Rectory, near Bandon, guiding €1m and sold swiftly to a buyer from Andorra. Meanwhile, across Co Cork, Rockforest House, on the Blackwater below Mallow had a €700,000 guide and went to a UK buyer.

“Demand for prime country houses and estates has steadily increased with disappointed underbidders finding little to choose from. Buyers from the UK are driving this sector once again,” says Mr Daniels, who sold Lismore’s Fort William on 400 acres this time last year for €7-8 million. Back in West Cork a bidding spree was reported on Dunowen House, near Clonakilty. Dunowen, the former home of Jim Hendrix Experience guitarist Noel Redding, last sold in 2005 for €1m, had another €1m pumped into it by a Welch/UK consortium including singer Nik Kershaw, and is making close to its €895,000 guide via Sherry FitzGerald O’Neill in Clonakilty. Earlier this year SFO’N sold a modern Rosscarbery home, Seaclusion to a UK buyer, for €1.2 million, while Dunowen’s buyer is understood to be Dublin-based.

And, costly renovation work has started on Inchydoney House, sold at auction in Sept with Hodnett Ford for €700,000.

The recent level of activity in up-market buys is unprecedented since the slump; top Munster sale of 2013 is likely to be Kinsale’s €3m Fastnet House via Cohalan Downing: agent Malcolm Tyrrell notes it displayed confidence in a market recovery and values (it had cost a reported €6m to develop.)

Similarly, Michael Daniels comments “there has been a period of sustained activity in the sector for the past 18 months, which is now manifesting itself in hard sales’ results. We have seen a return of confidence with buyers vying with each other once again”.


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