Golf course trophy home sees price slashed by €9m
IT was once the ultimate Celtic Tiger status symbol -- a palatial golf course house with a €12m price tag.
Now Winterwood -- built at Adare Manor, Co Limerick, for local developer Robert Butler -- is for sale for just €2.9m after its asking price was slashed by almost 76pc.
The 1,533sqm home boasts eight bedrooms, five reception rooms, a sweeping double staircase underneath a domed roof and the largest Waterford Crystal chandelier ever privately commissioned.
It sits on 2.8 acres and is sheltered by trees from the surrounding Adare Manor demesne and golf course.
At the height of the boom it was considered the ultimate luxury to own a house on one of Ireland's premier golf courses. But during the recession these homes have suffered some of the sharpest falls in the market.
At a time when average house prices are down by between 50pc and 60pc on their peak, prices for golf course homes have been slashed by more than 70pc.
But Winterwood's asking price is still higher than any of the prices being sought for houses on the K Club in Co Kildare, where the most expensive house on the market has a €1.75m price tag.
And while Adare can boast of hosting the Irish Open Golf competition, the K Club can boast of hosting the more prestigious international competitions -- the Ryder Cup and the European Open.
At the peak of the market the highest price recorded for a house in the K Club was €4m, which gym owner Ben Dunne received in 2006 for his house in one of the most sought-after sections of the K Club, known as Churchfields.
Subsequently, the highest price sought for a house in the Churchfields area was the €5.5m by developer Paul Tiernan for No 6, but it failed to sell.
Now, No 20 Churchfields, which is a four-bedroom, 428sqm house with a swimming pool, is asking €1.5m. David Ashmore of agents Savills said: "It's understandable that holiday homes and second homes are hardest hit in the downturn. These are considered luxury items and some people might use them for less than 20 days during the year."
Simon Ensor of Sherry FitzGerald also points out that another factor is the cost of playing golf, including annual membership fees.
However, both agents say there are buyers who use these properties as permanent homes, and Robert Ganly of agents Knight Frank says permanent residencies are a key factor in Adare Manor. Sherry FitzGerald O'Malley, joint agents for Winterwood, describe it as "a stunning property in an enclave of exceptional homes and in an amenity-rich private setting".
Their brochure states: "Winterwood lets you become part of an exclusive community offering a lifestyle of casual elegance, simple pleasures and world- class amenities."
Another impressive home in the Adare Manor estate -- No 13, the Demense -- is available for €2.5m, but it is smaller and has five bedrooms, a vaulted indoor swimming pool, a grand drawing-room and just over three-quarters of an acre of formal gardens.
Despite numerous viewings, the lure of the ornate decor, marble floors and expansive grounds has yet to pay dividends.
Des O'Malley, agent with Sherry FitzGerald O'Malley, recently said Winterwood's price cut is a symptom of the property market at present.
Winterwood is in virgin condition as it was never occupied. It was built for developer Robert Butler, who lives in a different part of Adare, and has a number of developments awaiting completion in Limerick, including the €15m 'Hanging Gardens' development at the site of the former GPO on Henry Street in the city.