Commuter belt value at Limetree Hall
A launch of large family homes in the university town next weekend showcases the benefits of the commuter belt.
Commuter belt bashing is an easy sport, but it is undeniable that what might get you a starter three-bed semi in Dublin can bring you to the upper echelons of the new homes market in the commuter towns. Next weekend sees the launch of a new homes scheme, Limetree Hall, right in the heart of Maynooth town in north Co Kildare.
"You are looking at €389,750 for your starter house say, which is the Walnut style," says selling agent Paul Doyle. "They're good versus anything you're buying in Dublin, really. You're getting more space, plenty of parkland and it's very low density. There are good schools and a train station you can walk to from the site."
As commuter belt towns go, Maynooth is one of the finest. An attractive university town with numerous shops, restaurants, pubs, sports facilities and the more practical amenities - banks, chemists and doctors - Maynooth is roughly an hour by car or bus from Dublin, with a train station in the centre of the town. The Royal Canal, the university grounds and the grounds of nearby Carton House all provide lovely options for country walks. And Limetree Hall, on the Dublin Road and a few minutes' walk from the town centre, has pedestrian access to Carton House Avenue, a beautiful walkway from the centre of Maynooth to Carton House. As well as the golf courses at Carton House, the K Club is a short car journey away.
There are numerous green spaces within the six acre site, which was previously paddocks, and two acres will be used as parkland.
This is a small scheme - in total just 36 units - a mixture of detached and semi-detached four and five-bedroom homes. Some of the units enjoy access from their own gates onto the road.
There are four house styles on offer: The Alder, a five-bed, three-storey detached home at c164.5sqm, from €550,000; the Ash, a two-storey, four-bed semi-detached at c129 sqm, from €389,000; the Oak, a five-bed, three-storey semi-detached, at c167 sqm, from €490,000; and the aforementioned Walnut, a two-storey, four-bed semi-detached at c121.3sqm, from €389,750.
The supply of new homes to the market in Maynooth is not huge, says selling agent Paul Doyle, but what has launched so far has sold well. They are expecting interest from first-time buyers for the semi-detached units, and buyers trading up for the larger detached homes. Pre-launch sales have been to a mixture of buyers from Dublin, and those who already live locally.
"Maynooth is very similar to the Dublin market," explains Doyle. "Maynooth, Celbridge, Lucan, Leixlip - they've all held up fairly well."
This is developer Ecolodge Construction's first scheme. Until now, their work has combined a mixture of one-off homes, which were mainly high-end builds between 550-650 sqm, and working as a contractor on new homes schemes.
They have, they say, approached this project with the mentality of a one-off bespoke project: these units include several features above the average standards of a new homes scheme.
"When you do one-off projects, your basic level goes up, and what you consider acceptable goes up - you don't just go for the cheapest options," says developer Ivica Bradbica from the Kildare-based company.
The company employs 15 of their own staff, rather than hiring contractors, a fact which they feel contributes to the quality of the project.
They have their own joinery workshop, and so the kitchens, wardrobes and fine joinery of these homes are that bit above average. Customers can choose from between six finishes, and a selection of both modern and contemporary options. The Carlson Windows' aluminium-clad timber frames are a particular point of pride for Bradbica, who says: "I absolutely hate PVC windows. The [Carlson Windows] look nicer, and you can paint them any colour you want on the inside. They have a slimmer profile, which allows more light in and looks more elegant."
Each house is surrounded by granite paving, and granite is used again for the window sills in all units. The roof trimmings - such as gutters and fascias - are all made from metal, rather than PVC. The bathrooms are fully tiled with a choice of tiles available, and these homes are fitted with a quiet pressurised plumbing system. They also have aluminium radiators, both an aesthetic and a performance choice, as they work more efficiently with heat pumps.
Ecolodge Construction are ahead of the curve when it comes to energy efficiency, having become aware of the concept about 15 years ago, when working with a Slovenian company whose methods, Bradbica says, are still ahead of anything we're doing here in Ireland. These houses enjoy a BER rating of A2. In fact, it is easier to achieve high levels of energy efficiency in a scheme rather than a one-off build, Bradbica explain, as supervision is a huge element of the cost, and expense is spared when building a number of homes on one site than when travelling between several sites.
Address: Limetree Hall, Dublin Road, Maynooth, Co Kildare
Agent: JP&M Doyle (01) 490 3201/(045) 865 568
Viewing: Saturday, June 4, and Sunday June 5, 2-4pm, and by appointment