Farm Ireland

Friday 19 January 2018

Land-seeking farmers missing opportunities for renovation projects

The house at Scurlogstown on the outskirts of Trim
The house at Scurlogstown on the outskirts of Trim
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

Farmers in the market for land are not attracted by residential farms, "tis the ground they're after". Very often the house is seen as a complete burden.

In many ways, these are missed investment opportunities and farmers should look at renovation to rent or sell.

They have a range of skill sets and access to a variety of tools and machinery that their non-farming peers do not have, which would reduce the cost of renovation considerably.

This house, on 2ac at Scurlogstown on the outskirts of Trim in Co Meath, illustrates the possibilities.

I visited it last year while walking the 43ac farm that came with it.

The dwelling needed a lot of attention and when the place was bought, it was clear the purchaser was just interested in the land.

However, he decided to invest in the house and has now turned it into a tasty modern dwelling with some lovely features and a modern extension. It has all new windows, high-spec insulation, wooden floors in some of the downstairs rooms, an ensuite bedroom and a new bathroom.

A kitchen needs to be fitted and some of the floor coverings and finishings are left to be done to the new owner's taste.

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The house is set on 2ac with an old two-column haybarn in the haggard, and a traditional farmyard in courtyard style to the rear with a lofted barn. There are two loose boxes and an original cow byre that has been carefully restored to create space for an outside studio or recreational room.

The original property, the house on 43ac, was sold at auction by Thomas Potterton last year for €700,000.

The residence on 2ac is now on the market to be sold at auction for between €350,000 and €400,000.

The auction will be held at the Property Exchange, Trim at 3pm on Tuesday, November 1.

'Satisfactory' deal done on Dublin farm

Jim O'Brien

Balbriggan auctioneer John Cumisky had a busy week with auctions on four of the five working days.

On Tuesday, he sold Bird Field Farm, a 44ac holding at Ballyboughal. It was withdrawn from auction at €490,000 and sold afterwards for a figure believed to be around €14,000/ac.

Located just outside the village of Ballyboughal in North County Dublin, the farm is laid out in nine fields, ranging in size from 2ac to 6.6ac. The holding is all in one block and serviced by an internal roadway. The fields are all under grass at the moment.

A substantial yard on the holding has a wide range of farming and equestrian facilities that include an all-weather exercise and lunging area. The yard is located at the centre of the farm and includes an 'A' roofed open barn with seven loose box stables, a tack room, plenty of storage areas, a caretaker's quarters and various staff accommodations.

Included on the site is a three-bed mobile home and a large glasshouse extending to c 0.4ac. A small portion of land sown down to a seed crop for wild birds now provides cover for a variety of wild animals. The farm also has a 1ac bamboo plantation .

At auction, Bird Field farm attracted three bidders when Mr Cumisky opened proceedings, accepting a bid of €350,000. After 11 bids, the price reached €490,000, at which point the property was withdrawn.

Negotiations opened immediately with the highest bidder and, according to the auctioneer, "a satisfactory deal was done with a local customer from a farming background". It is believed the price agreed equates to about €14,000/ac.

On Wednesday, Mr Cumisky was back in the auction room for the sale of a 36.9ac tillage farm at Knocknagin, Gormanstown with direct access to the beach. A drawn-out auction opened with a 'legal scrap' with various lawyers looking for clarification on a range of issues. Core business got under way with an opening bid of €150,000 - five bidders showed an interest. After 38 bids, it was bought under the hammer at €570,000 by a local buyer not engaged in active farming.

On Thursday, Mr Cumisky was in action again when a 17ac farm at Kingstown, Effelstown, Lusk came for auction.

The property includes a 1.13ac site with full planning permission for a dwelling house and no 'local need' requirement. Located walking distance from Lusk the remaining 15.8ac is in tillage. On the day the entire opened at €300,000 and, with two bidders in action, climbed to €430,000 at which point it was withdrawn.

Mr Cumiskey is now in active negotiations to close a deal.

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