Tuesday 12 December 2017

NAMA homes come with Celtic Tiger luxuries but recession-proof prices

A bedroom in a three-bed house in Killeen Castle, Dunshaughlin
A bedroom in a three-bed house in Killeen Castle, Dunshaughlin
The kitchen in a three-bed house in Killeen Castle, Dunshaughlin.
The back garden
Sitting room at a No 1, The Avenue, a four-bed, three-storey townhouse at Carrickmines Manor.

Grainne Cunningham and Ralph Riegel

IF NAMA's deferred payment scheme is designed to get nervous buyers off the fence and down to their mortgage lender, then the houses viewed by the Irish Independent yesterday should do just that.

The scheme, which effectively removes a chunk of the negative-equity risk of buying a new home, would appear to be a fair deal for both cautious consumers and for developers keen to offload stagant housing stock.

The only catch for the prospective house hunter is whether you want to buy a home in one of the limited number of developments included in the pilot phase of 115 units in Cork, Dublin and Meath.

Take Loughmore Square on Killeen Castle estate, just outside Dunshaughlin, Co Meath, for instance.

These are homes with Celtic Tiger-type specifications at recession-proof prices. The three-bed showhouse, which is priced at €320,000, boasts three en suite bedrooms, with Villeroy and Boch sinks and baths, while the kitchen includes fully integrated white goods as standard, along with granite tops and a Miele oven.

The showhouse, which measures 149 sq metres is fully furnished, with all contents included in the sale price and features other lavish extras such as surround sound and mood lighting. The kitchen alone would cost an estimated €50,000 to install.

But if the bank won't let you reach that far, you could opt for a identically sized three-bed townhouse with standard fittings and for €275,000. They still throw in all the white goods and granite surfaces in the kitchen.

The development overlooks the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course and has a wooded walk, fishing lakes and gated security. In the same area, a three-bed bungalow in its own grounds is selling for €310,000 and a four-bed detached home is priced at €285,000.

In Carrickmines, south Dublin, Douglas Newman Good is offering three- and four-bed townhouses from €275,000, through the deferred-payment scheme.

Pearse Construction built the 271 homes in the Carrickmines Manor development just over four years ago. About 70 failed to sell at price tags which dropped from a high of €795,000 for four bedrooms in 2007 -- and were rented out. It is those that are now available.

Upstairs are three double bedrooms, all en suite, while downstairs is a relatively small kitchen, spacious living room and a courtyard area to the rear.

But, with the four-bed, 138 sq metre townhouse priced at €295,000, these homes compare very favourably with other similar houses available in the area.

A three-bed home in a nearby development is priced at €425,000.

According to DNG senior negotiator Gina Kennedy, the aim of the new scheme is to encourage fearful buyers to take the plunge.

"It is a lack of consumer confidence which has been key, although that has picked up somewhat already. But there is a whole section of people who have been sitting on the fence for the past four or five years," she said.

Padraig Sherry of Sherry Fitzgerald, which is handling the Killeen development, does not believe the scheme will skew the market because it is too limited in scale.

"I welcome any initiative which is aimed at stimulating a stagnant market but the most important element is liquidity. The banks have to start lending to people," he said.

Meanwhile, in Cork, where 62 of the properties are located, Rowan Hill in the plush Mount Oval development should also prove a strong draw.

The estate has its own commercial centre and there are multiple schools and creches nearby. Just minutes from the city's main South Link access route, and the city centre, the townhouses tick most of the boxes for first-time buyers.

However, just 10 two-bed townhouses are available under the NAMA scheme -- the more popular three- and four-bed homes have not yet been included.

Irish Independent

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