Friday 2 December 2016

Real deal: The business of property

Philip Farrell

Published 10/04/2016 | 02:30

Co-living — a cross between communal living and serviced rooms aimed at students and millennials — is becoming increasingly fashionable in the UK and US. Could it help take the pressure off the rental market here? At Old Oak Common in London NW10, The Collective will launch their latest such scheme in early May with a 10-floor development that houses 551 spaces, ranging from studios and two-dios up to shared flats for three to four tenants. On the menu are linen changes and room cleaning, while amenities such as an in-house gym, library, spa, cinema, restaurant, bar and concierge come with the weekly rent of £250, which also includes all utility bills. Kitchenettes are shared, but each floor has a communal dining room too
Co-living — a cross between communal living and serviced rooms aimed at students and millennials — is becoming increasingly fashionable in the UK and US. Could it help take the pressure off the rental market here? At Old Oak Common in London NW10, The Collective will launch their latest such scheme in early May with a 10-floor development that houses 551 spaces, ranging from studios and two-dios up to shared flats for three to four tenants. On the menu are linen changes and room cleaning, while amenities such as an in-house gym, library, spa, cinema, restaurant, bar and concierge come with the weekly rent of £250, which also includes all utility bills. Kitchenettes are shared, but each floor has a communal dining room too

Green light for West Dublin

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With all the coverage about the shortage of new housing, it's good to be able to herald the approval of a new development. Planning permission has been granted for 204 residential units off the Ongar Road in Dublin 15. Close to Hansfield train station, and a 25-minute train journey to Dublin city centre, it will make for a popular location with commuters.

The developers, Mulberry Glen, have been building in the area for many years and have already moved in on the site, which is in the Hansfield Strategic Development Zone.

The project will comprise a mix of units types, including apartments, terraced and semi-detached homes and is expected to launch in autumn this year.

In fact it's been a good few weeks for the area - building work began at the new Facebook Data Centre in Clonee and the announcement of a new Avoca outlet in nearby Dunboyne was confirmed. With both Hansfield train station and Ongar village five minutes' walk away from the proposed Mulberry Glen development, interest is likely to be strong from typical first-time buyers.

Barnwell Green, a nearby development by McGarrell O'Reilly Group, launches a further phase over the coming weeks. No prices have been released yet for either development, but based on current market indicators and local values, it'd be fair to think that prices would be in the region of €280,000 to €300,000 for a three-bed semi-detached unit and €240,000 to €250,000 for two-bed townhouses.

Judging from the bottled-up demand for new homes in Dublin, these developments should spark a lot of interest - whether buyers can secure the necessary finance remains to be seen.

Student accommodation on rise to meet demand

The problem of a shortage of student accommodation is a perennial. In Dublin, in particular, students experience huge difficulties in finding 'digs' close to where they are studying. To give some idea of the extent of the problem, there are over 80,000 full-time students and just 4,000 student bed spaces.

Not surprising, this relatively untapped market has become a focus for both homegrown and international investors.

In most third-level institutions in the UK and further afield, student accommodation is an integral part of the college campus, cutting travel costs and time and adding to the buzz of campus life. However, there are very few beds available here and they tend to be expensive and quickly filled. And worse, as a result of the rent crisis, students have been priced out of the private rental market.

One solution is the concept of 'dedicated offsite student accommodation', which normally takes the form of 'cluster flats - with six to eight individual rooms with a central communal area for daytime living. On average, the units cost €200 to €250 a week. One such property is the former Montrose Hotel near UCD's campus; others are proposed in the Liberties, Summerhill and Gardiner Street.

With rental supply so low, demand can only increase for "cluster flats" as well as innovations such as co-living pioneered by The Collective in the UK, pictured above.

Getting dressed up to sell

A survey was carried out some years which highlighted the fact the average person overvalues their own home by approximately 10pc. Not surprising really. Why is this? Because it is their home. As far as they are concerned, as David Byrne says in 'Agent View' on this page, their house has that something extra. Be mindful of this and take professional advice before going to market.

According to Rowena Quinn of Hunters estate agents, where you pitch your price sets the tone. If you are going to market, vendors should spend money sprucing up the house cosmetically. I've seen €1,000 spent on decor add €5,000 to the price achieved.

There are a number of good companies available to offer advice on staging your home for sale and many estate agents will also offer the benefit of their experience. Declutter and present your home looking fresh and with neutral décor and make sure this is done in time for the photography for your brochure or publicity material.

Please note, wheelie bins have not been trained to pout for photographs so remove them from the front elevation picture. Don't forget to tidy and dress up the back garden - it's an important feature in assessing the potential of the property. And challenging as it may be, especially if there are youngsters in the house, vacate the premises while viewings are taking place. Potential purchasers tend to relax when the owner is not present - and they relax even more when the dog is gone too. Plus they will be more honest in voicing their opinions to the agent.

You might think all of this is obvious. You'd be surprised.

Sunday Independent

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