Could high-end Woodbrook break Cork City's 2020 house price record of €1.5m?

City's top price so far this year is a 'modest' €1.5m vs a stonking €5.5m in the county
Could high-end Woodbrook break Cork City's 2020 house price record of €1.5m?

High five for 5 Woodbrook, guided at €1.35m by  Lisney Sotheby's International Realty's Pat Falvey and Trevor O'Sullivan. It could go way higher in bids... Pictures: Declan Casey, Drone: Joe Loftus Media

Rochestown, Cork

€1.35m

Size

418sq m (4,500sq ft)

Bedrooms

6

Bathrooms

5

BER

B3

There's lots of money out there for good homes, lots and lots, with many home hunters in and around Cork with over €1m to spend on a purchase — if the right place comes along.

It’s not just the anecdotal evidence from estate agents when they get top listings and they get to see just who’s looking, and how much they have to spend; the Price Register shows the evidence of it too.

As Autumn rolls around, the Register shows over 40 listings over the €1m price threshold, of which a small handful are bulk sales of clusters of houses (they are the ones that jump out, with multi-unit sales recorded of €28m in Clonakilty and €35m in Bishopstown, without exactly specifying the number of properties in those transactions.)

It’s possible that the total number of Cork properties making over a million euros will reach 50 by the end of this year, given the number now sale agreed and those yet to turn up by the end of December, and this could well be a record — last year, there were ‘just’ 38 in the full year, and 32 in all of 2020.

Kitchen/dining/living, with lots more rooms 'left over'
Kitchen/dining/living, with lots more rooms 'left over'

What’s notable too perusing the Price Register is the clear disparity between top prices being paid in Cork city and suburbs/metropolitan Cork and houses in the country, or by the sea.

While the best county and coastal homes are making multi-million euro sums, such as in Kinsale with €4.75m paid for Raffeen House in Scilly and an as-yet unrecorded c €5.5m for Constantia Farm on top of Compass Hill, the best of the city homes being bought by the well-heeled are, by comparison, in the, eh, ‘hapenny’ league in the last few years, typically topping out over the last few years at €1.5m, in ‘proven’ locations such as Douglas, Blackrock and the Model Farm Road.

Home comforts in a front reception room
Home comforts in a front reception room

Douglas had two this year. Clonard at the foot of Maryborough Hill, featured in these pages in March of this year, with a €1.2m AMV, but was bid to €1.5m.

That was for a cracker, some 4,000 sq ft of super-comfortable and exceptionally well-specced five-bed home on 0.2 of an acre opposite The Paddocks at the foot of Maryborough Hill.

Making €1.485m via Lisney was the period Knockrea House, on the main Douglas Road vacated by employers’ body IBEC and which will need further sums (€300k-€500k?) spent on it to return it to private domestic use and a place to call home for decades to come.

Now, as the year draws in, Lisney Sotheby’s has what’s one of the very best Cork city homes to come for sale this year just listed, and it’s No 5 Woodbrook, a home so private very few will even have been aware of its existence, up until now. Even the address, Woodbrook, will have many scratching their heads.

So, to cut a long story short, it’s one of four/five in a row (the adjoining site, No 4, appears to be a garden linked to No 3, without a house, judging by satellite images) built close to the grounds of St Patrick’s Church, just off the Rochestown Road. It’s in at the more private end of a cul de sac, on by far the biggest site, a good half an acre, so, pretty uncommon in size terms for a suburban setting like this.

View from main bedroom's balcony
View from main bedroom's balcony

The enclave is reached via the access road to St Patrick’s Church which also serves three or four other one-off homes, including a parochial house and, most hidden, Bloomfield House, a Scottish baronial-looking home on very extensive grazing farmlands by the Douglas estuary and which most probably gave the Bloomfield interchange at junction 9 on the N40 ring road its name.

If that period home were ever to come for sale, well, expect records to be made given the acreage and setting.

Back to No 5 Woodbrook, though, as it gets listed with a €1.35m AMV with agent Pat Falvey and Trevor O’Sullivan of Lisney Sotheby’s Real Estate.

It is the latest in a line of high-end Cork homes this agency has listed this year after their alliance with international brand Sotheby’s, including Longueville House (€7m on 300 acres) and Dripsey Castle Estate (€2.95m, viewing heavily and already under offer).

No 5 is likely to also come under early and strong offers at its €1.35m AMV: might it got to the €1.5m that Clonard made on Maryborough Hill, or even top that?

Bigger and better than the original home, and B3 BER rated too
Bigger and better than the original home, and B3 BER rated too

It’s larger, and on a far bigger site than Clonard, has a Rochestown address and is just a slightly longer walk to Douglas village than Clonard’s minute or two stroll to the Fingerpost.

Woodbrook’s small fistful of homes was developed in around 1992, by BrideView Homes, and No 5 took a further giant step up in size terms in 2008, with its internal finishes very much of that time. It certainly doesn’t feel like a 30-year old home inside or outside: it gleams.

The extension was designed by architects Kelly Barry O’Brien Whelan (KOBW), whose Cork practice spans a broad spectrum, from residential to schools and third-level college buildings.

Here they added a couple of thousand extra square feet it seems, so now there are c 4,500 sq ft, which gives lots of ground floor options apart from an enormous kitchen (39’ by 16’ with high ceilings and lots of glazing), six first floor bedrooms, and a top floor with one large, multi-purpose room and a smaller one off it.

Bright, bright, bright
Bright, bright, bright

The extension is finished externally in cedar cladding, for the most part, windows are very large and the roof is a single pitch, done in standing seam zinc, expansive

and extensive, with glass clerestory inserts over a kitchen portion to make it ever brighter still.

The mid-level has a bathroom, an en suite bedroom, four other bedrooms plus a huge master suite off to one side separated off the stairs by a couple of steps, and is 22’ by 18’, excluding a walk-in dressing room, via sliding pocket doors, all extensively shelved and fitted out with top joinery and lots of pale oak.

Loo with a view
Loo with a view

The private bathroom is both big and bright, with a corner bath under a corner window with the best garden and Lough Mahon/Douglas estuary water views, and also has a large shower in a facing corner, wall-hung sanitary ware including a bidet, vanity unit with twin sinks, lots of mirrored wall and also features more clerestory windows on high, under the extension’s gently sloping ceiling pitch.

Dressing room/walk-in robes
Dressing room/walk-in robes

Tech spec: hall with home office
Tech spec: hall with home office

The luxury is everywhere at ground level as well, with oak joinery, good flooring including some oak floors, ceiling heights are good, with LED spots, and the decor is spotless, calm, unfussed.

Rooms include two reception rooms off the hall, both are double aspect and one with bay window has an Eos stove, while the rear, more relaxed room has a gas fire.

Left of the hall is a study, and there’s yet another double aspect reception/family room to the other front corner, reached off the enormous kitchen/dining room, with bay window overlooking the side patio/front drive.

There’s access to the gardens from a good-sized utility room (off the kitchen) to the east, from a casual family area by the kitchen, and another door from the kitchen to a very large south and west-facing patio, with garden pergola and raised veg beds.

The owners, with a near-adult family and who’ve fully used the spaces, are relocating and are going to leave the place in walk-in condition for its next occupants.

They also pay particular tribute to architect Tom Coughlan of Coughlan DeKeyser who did the initial design back in the 1990s and who also laid out the garden landscaping which they say has added enormous pleasure to the mix.

Apart from the main house, there’s a garden utility/store room with EV charge point for a car, treehouse, plus garden water feature/small pond with pumped supply.

In more recent years, a stand-alone Shomera garden room (pic left) was added to be used as a studio/gym, leaving a choice of further uses given there’s already a home office/study in the house and the attic room offers similar optional use scope too.

Having been pretty much redone from top to bottom back in 2008, No 5 now gets a good B3 BER, and comes with heat recovery system, top-quality windows, immaculate décor, enormous patios, and massive 0.5 acre site.

Half acre site includes a dedicated Shomera-style home office/gym
Half acre site includes a dedicated Shomera-style home office/gym

No family will be caught for space here, either inside or outside.

Gated and secure entrance
Gated and secure entrance

There’s masses of secure parking, and access is controlled by electric wrought iron gates, while security measures are high with CCTV cameras liberally scattered about this private remove from the busy world outside this ‘under the radar’ Rochestown enclave, with St Patrick’s RC church added to the blessed setting.

VERDICT: High five for No 5: might it be one of the city’s strongest sale results by year’s end?

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