Bargain homes shook from the 'Ghost Estates'
NEW life is being injected into ghost estates and part empty schemes within reach of the capital as home hunters turn to "nearly new" homes in search of big discounts – 20pc to 40pc compared with equivalent properties otherwise available.
At Stocking Wood in Rathfarnham, where 83 homes were left in receivership and empty last year, estate agents Knight Frank, self styled "Ghost Estate Busters," and specialists in disposal, have just sold the last vacant property last week for €400,000 after more than 50 people turned up for the final viewing.
The new movement of "nearly new" or "re-activated" homes to market is being driven by demand for bargains but also by the by the banks who are now pushing more aggressively for the disposal of properties which have remained in limbo since the crash in 2007.
The downside for buyers is that these homes are often bought on receiver contract with no builder back up and that the BER standards of five years ago are not as high.
Homes which were mothballed five and six years ago are regularly being relaunched by liquidators, receivers and by the developers who closed down their schemes as the market died.
The properties on offer fall largely into three categories. First the unfinished homes which were recently completed. Next are the finished homes which were left empty and have also required remedial work to ensure the services are working. Finally we find the completed homes which were never sold but rented out. These are either being cleared of tenancies and then refurbished for sale or offered first to existing tenants.
According to David Browne of Knight Frank, which has cleaned up and successfully sold on a number of long empty scheme segments, much of the demand for the "nearly new" properties being sold by his agency are coming from the tenants who been renting completed but unsold homes for the past four or five years.
"Obviously these are the purchases we most enjoy facilitating given that the buyers are already resident and are a part of the community. It's great to see these estates finally fully occupied and everyone is happy about it."
An example of the value on offer is Knight Frank's recently "reactivated" batch of 16 homes launched last weekend at Castlelyon in Newcastle County Dublin where three-bedroom houses are available from €170,000 to €200,000. At Castlelyon the four-bedroom homes are now on offer from €230,000. These prices are 70pc below what they were originally sold for five years ago and 40pc cheaper than equivalent second hand homes.
The scheme was originally developed by a private consortium of investors and while most of the homes were sold in the intervening period, 16 remained unsold.