€2.7m surge in sales at ghost estate
A Clare ghost estate which was dogged by controversy has seen a surge in sales with property worth €2.73m being snapped up in just 10 days, a local developer has revealed.
There were queues of people waiting to purchase bargain homes in the unfinished Ard na Deirge estate recently - 16 months after local homeowners staged a protest about the delay in taking up occupancy.
John Walsh of Cherry Fox Developments, Limerick, has confirmed that eight four-bedroom detached homes sold for €160,000 while 10 three-bedroom semi-detached homes reached €145,000.
The same houses were on the market for €375,000 and €300,000 respectively at the height of the Celtic Tiger back in 2007. There was no shortage of buyers at the time, most of whom pulled out after seeing the development work drag on for years.
Having completely transformed the derelict site since it was taken over by Cherry Fox Developments a few months ago, Mr Walsh said there was a great demand for houses in the estate.
There are currently 10 prospective buyers on a waiting list in the event that one of the sales for the 18 houses falls through.
While the new home owners took a risk in buying homes in an estate initially beset by problems and delays, Mr Walsh believes the properties represent good value.
He hopes to get the three home owners who were locked out of their homes for the last eight years - Michele Burke and William Buck, John Ryan Snr and John Ryan Jnr - into the buildings by the end of the month.
Michele Burke and William Buck, who were unable to move into their home for eight years, saw three or four hopeful buyers queuing to buy one house in the estate.
The couple paid a booking deposit on a house at Ard na Deirge, Killaloe, in September 2006. They were to move in in December 2009 when a receiver from KPMG was appointed by AIB after the original developer ran into serious financial difficulties.
John Ryan Snr and John Ryan Jnr were also left in "development limbo" and unable to take up permanent residence in two other nearby homes, in spite of obtaining full title deeds.
Prospective buyers were being asked to pay €350,000 for houses in the estate at the height of the boom in 2006.
John Ryan Jnr actually had his electricity connected and was about to move in when the entrance gates were locked after the initial builder couldn't finish the estate due to serious money problems.
This left the homeowners at the mercy of the prospective buyers, who opted not to complete the estate, and Clare County Council, who don't own the estate, to try and broker a deal with the bondholders.
Bouyed by the support of relatives and friends, Michele Burke, William Buck, John Ryan Senior and Junior, Castleconnell staged a protest at the entrance gates to the estate in April 2013.