Modern, stylish living with seaside appeal
52 Harbour Court Dun Laoghaire Co Dublin €395,000
While other parts of Europe embraced apartment living over recent decades, in Ireland, one-floor living has usually been seen as the poor relation. However, some recent showstopping buildings and a spike in standards has resulted in the rising popularity of multi-unit development living in this country.
Ken MacDonald, managing director of Hooke & MacDonald, points to the landmark Neptune House development in Dun Laoghaire. Built by the Cosgrave Group, and designed for the rental market, it is, he said, an example of the blue sky thinking that has elevated apartment design out of the ordinary.
"There is going to be big growth in this area for both the rental market and sale," says MacDonald. "Apartment living really holds the solution to so many of our housing problems at the moment. There aren't enough apartments being built at the moment - the build costs don't stack up. We are finding huge demand from a variety of people and there is a shortage of second-hand apartments. The upkeep of an older house can be very expensive, aside from the property tax. I think the whole area of upkeep costs and security will increase the momentum for apartment living.
"The move towards downsizing is a trickle rather than a flood at present but as the cost of maintenance and repairs comes more into focus, more people will take it up," believes MacDonald.
Those in search of an easy-to-maintain, coastal home will want to check out 52 Harbour Court in the modern Dun Laoghaire development of George's Place which was built in 2006 and completed in 2007.
This two-bedroom third-floor pad stands out for its vista, according to MacDonald. "It has fine big windows and there are beautiful views out onto the boats, the harbour, and the seafront as well as the yacht club and the two granite piers.
At 75sqm, the property is compact with a hallway with utility room; living/dining room; kitchen with built-in appliances; two double bedrooms, one of which is en suite; and a bathroom. The living, dining and balcony areas all face out towards the sea. The floors are a mix of solid wood and tiling, and there is plenty of scope for the new owner to put their own stamp on the decor. The BER is B2. An underground car park has direct access via a lift to all floors.
The apartment comes with a service charge of €2,526 per annum and the communal areas and landscaping are well maintained.
But its biggest selling point has to be the location - Harbour Court is within walking distance of the Dart and the seafront with its popular East and West piers where the Irish equivalent of the passeggiata takes place each evening.
Commuters to the city centre or IFSC face a journey time of roughly half an hour. Dun Laoghaire has many popular restaurants and pubs, and it's a short walk to those of Glasthule and Sandycove if the new owners fancy a change.
A variety of bus routes and amenities are available nearby, including the DLR LexIcon Library and Cultural Centre, completed in 2015 at a cost of €36m by architects Carr Cotter & Naessens. The building looms like a large ship coming to dock at the seafront and contains among other amenities a cafe, children's library and performance area.
While the graceful and historic port town - known for its Victorian villas painted in ice cream shades, palm trees and townland parks - was hit by the downturn, with many premises closing down, there has been a sense of renewal in recent months, with new businesses opening along its main street and surrounds.
The selling agent expects 52 Harbour Court to have wide appeal. "It is ideal for someone downsizing from a large house, particularly locally. Most people like to stay close to their family, friends and facilities, and this apartment would be ideal for someone keen to stay local in a low-maintenance property," says MacDonald.