House of the week: Cork City, €170,000

Size: Sq m 71 (770 sq ft) Bedrooms: 2 Bathrooms: 2 BER rating: B1 Best asset: Brand new product

Pent-up house buying demand has given comfort to the builders and selling agents of a seven-home Cork City development called Evergreen Close, as they launch sales unseasonally — but very optimistically — in late November.

Two of the seven house are reserved, all will be built and ready for occupation in late May, and it’s expected the five still available will be taken up in rapid order, predict auctioneers Jeremy Murphy and Mark Gosling.

Floors of the new houses are emerging from the cleared ground of the sloping site between Evergreen Road and Nicholas Street, and backing onto Parkown homes too off Quaker Road in Cork’s South Parish, just a five-minute walk from the South Mall.

Behind the scheme is builder Dan O’Brien of OBR Construction, whose other business DOB Construction is more used to concrete formwork and far bigger engineering projects. DOB are active in the UK and did the concrete base, foundations and skeleton for the Elysian Tower in Cork, for example. So, his compact 0.18 acres Evergreen Close scene of seven houses is a sort of a reverse move, a case of little acorns following mighty oaks, instead of the other way around. His OBR firm is scouting for more sites, by the way.

And, right now, OBR are selling units here at €170,000, and that’s for brand new, high ‘B1’ BER-rated two-beds of 770 sq ft, with two parking spaces each, near the city centre and near UCC.

Agent Jeremy Murphy says the sheer fact there’s been nothing new offered in the city for so long means pent-up demand. He’s expecting a cross-section of buyers, from FTBs to traders down, as well as possibly investors.

“I’m basing that on current activity and lack of supply, we had 23 ‘sale agreeds’ in October, and we wouldn’t be unique in town in that, but there’s very little fresh coming on to replace that. I sold a lovely old, refurbished two-bed nearby in Turner’s Cross for close to €160,000, well over its €145,000 guide, and sold two three-beds in Highfield Avenue to investors for about €200,000, cash, so that’s the background here — and the site is a bit unique too,” adds Mr Murphy.

The 0.18 site, including two houses one of which had to be knocked for access and will be reinstated, was sold by DNG Creedon just prior to auction in May for over its €240,000 guide, so the developer has managed to keep a house on Nicholas Street with a rent roll (or there’s an option to sell off), and has seven sites to build out, in three pairs of semis and one end terrace/townhouse. Design and detailing is by Denis O’Sullivan Engineers, who did the job of getting them down on the sloping, quaint inner-city site with services, replacing old dilapidated sheds used for furniture manufacture, and before that said to have been a piggery serving the old Lunhams/ Evergreen Bacon.

Heading up the build crew on site this week (clearance started in July) was engineer Brian O’Sullivan, who returned to Ireland from a two-year break in New Zealand and who notes “things are picking up a small bit perhaps, but most of those who left the same time as me haven’t come back yet.” Two other ground crew on site this week said the last job they’d worked on was down at pharma giant Eli Lilly in Kinsale. “It’s been a few years since we did houses,” they remark, though OBR also sold three detached houses in Whitchurch, off-plan, recently at €255,000.

¦ Meanwhile, also sold swiftly — and under advanced construction — are six larger 1,800 sq ft detached houses at Boreenmanna Road, sold off plans by Casey and Kingstown for a different builder, David Walsh of Rockforest Homes at prices just under €400,000.

VERDICT: Roll up, roll up, there’s little else being built in town.


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