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Saturday 23 August 2014

Interest in 'superhomes' returns to the capital

Foreign investors are fuelling interest in Dublin

Published 04/10/2013 | 05:00

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A rear view of Blackrock's worst-kept secret, Deepwell.
A rear view of Blackrock's worst-kept secret, Deepwell.
The Italianate garden at Deepwell
The Italianate garden at Deepwell
Standford House, Westminster Road, Foxrock, Dublin 18
Standford House, Westminster Road, Foxrock, Dublin 18

THE number of top tier €3m plus trophy "superhomes" for sale on the open market in the capital has hit double figures for the first time since 2006 as the owners of top end properties embrace the increasing momentum in the capital's property market in search of a sale.

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While trophy homes usually range in the €1m to €3m bracket, very few "superhomes" in the top tier above that price level have been coming to market since the crash kicked in and almost none have been selling outside the central trophy home cabinet of Shrewsbury and Ailesbury Roads which have seen a flurry of stressed property sales through the last few years.

All this changed in 2013 and in particular since the summer months with one "superhome" after the other coming to market,. mostly in the outer south city areas.

Agents are saying that the revived Dublin market, the increased presence of foreign buyers and even some investors has finally encouraged the arrival to market of homes at the absolute top end – those now selling in the €3m to €10m bracket.

There are now more than 10 homes in the €3m plus range on the market in the capital with three of those in the €5m ballpark and one truly spectacular city manse priced at €10m.

According to Simon Ensor of the Sherry FitzGerald agency which is in charge of close to 50pc of these properties, most of the homes coming to market in the last few months are as a result of executor sales following the death of the owner.

"Despite a belief that the banks are playing a role, it's really down to increased confidence among the vendors. It probably took owners in this market a few years to get used to the notion that their homes had come down so much in value.

"There has been almost no market for these homes up until last year when we began selling a few on Shrewsbury and Ailesbury Roads."

Ensor estimates that around 65pc of the demand for these properties comes from foreign based entrepreneurs, either those born in Ireland and based abroad, or foreign based nationals with Irish family roots.

"There are a lot of Irish people who are abroad and have done well and feel that the market has hit bottom and now is the time to obtain some value."

The change has seen availability of €3m plus homes spread out from Dublin 4 to Dalkey, Killiney, Foxrock and Howth – traditionally the capital's other prime locations for superhomes.

Among the properties to come to the market since the start of the Autumn are Windgate, a seven-bedroom art deco-style 1930's villa on a raised site at Windgate Road, Baily, in Howth which is on offer for €3m through Finnegan Menton.

Two weeks ago Lisney set a price of €3m for Loughgall, a spectacular six-bedroom redbrick Victorian pastiche of 6,245 sq ft at Mart Lane in Foxrock.

Last month Ganly Walters took Hendre to market – one of the most impressive contemporary homes in Killiney which is on offer at €3.65m. The six-bedroom home of 6,860 sq ft comes with its own cinema, gym and an acre of ground with spectacular sea views.

Savills have brought Ashurst to market for €3.5m – the Victorian Gothic mansion with seven bedrooms, a tower and 4.5 acres at Military Road in Killiney was the former home of Archbishop John McQuaid.

These join properties like 36 Ailesbury Road, the French Embassy which is being offered by Sherry FitzGerald for €5.5m, and Killowen at Shrewsbury Road being offered at €4.5m through the same agency.

In the summer Sherry FitzGerald also brought Stanford House to market, a Westminister Road, one of the very best homes in the best part of Foxrock. This is essentially one of the few true country manses left in Dublin. The early Victorian property comes with a courtyard of outbuildings and stables, a formal walled garden, and 1.55 acres with the option to buy 1.35 acres more. The house is 3,875 sq ft and is on offer for €3.9m.

But the true Xanadu among all the Dublin homes currently on offer is Deepwell, which will be familiar to passengers on the DART who get a brief glimpse into its spectacular Italianate gardens of 2.37 acres at Blackrock, Co Dublin. Deepwell comes with an outdoor pool and its own, em, Classical Greek-style Temple.

The seven-bedroom home was built in the 1850's by the Guinness family and was lately the home of the late John Reihill, owner of Tedcastle and Top Oil who recently passed away. The house has been described by Simon Ensor as "One of the best houses in Dublin, if not the best." In the boom year it would easily have fetched more than €30m and probably closer to €40m."

The expectation is that more super homes will follow. The question is will any more Irish based buyers be picking them up, or will they continue to end up as super holiday homes for foreign based buyers?

The new clutch of Dublin superhomes coming to market this year join one or two bridesmaids that have been hanging around for many years unsold since the crash. Among them is Clontra, an 1860's built Victorian Gothic extravaganza in cut stone with 19 acres attached.

Located at Quinn's Road Shankill, Co Dublin, the property was withdrawn at auction in 2005 and brought back to market at €18.5m. Now it's on offer through Sherry FitzGerald for just under €3m.

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