Thursday 14 December 2017

Cash-rich emigrants also target land plots

Donal Buckley

As many as 19 land holdings and development sites are being offered for sale in the Allsop Space auction next month, ranging in price from around €750,000 for a one-acre south Dublin site to as little as €5,000 for a 0.65-acre Athlone site. In all there will be 221 acres on offer with a combined value of €1.84m.

In acreage terms the largest property is a 60-acre farm at Kiltoohig, Charleville, Co Cork together with a three-bedroom bungalow which has a €475,000 guide price, or €7,917 per acre.

The most valuable site is the 1.08-acre site on Clonkeen Road, close to Dunnes Stores, Cornelscourt shopping centre, and Cabinteely Village. The site known as Treacy's Yard has an €650,000 to €750,000 guide.

Located on the western side of the N11, it has high-profile potential with its frontage of 88 metres on to the N11 and 138 metres on to the section of Clonkeen Road west of the N11.

Currently a hardcored yard with four sheds, a garden centre and parking, it is generating €59,475 a year in rent from a number of tenants.

Uses permitted under its 'A' zoning include residential, residential institution and retirement home, while uses open for consideration include education, embassy, funeral home, garden centre/plant nursery, petrol station, restaurant, service garage, shop neighbourhood and sports facility.

Seven of the the auction parcels are located on either the eastern or western side of Athlone Town.

They include 44 acres in two plots at Kilcar, Curraghboy, Co Westmeath with a €60,000 guide and a further 33 acres at Curry, Bridewell, Co Westmeath, also with a €60,000 guide price.

In Cork City Centre a 0.06- acre site at 96 North Main Street, between the Court House, Cornmarket Square and Grand Parade, has a €20,000 guide price, the equivalent of €333,000 an acre.

In West Cork a three-acre plot comprising six sites at Ashgrove Meadows, Spring Lane, Bandon, have an €80,000 guide.

A further 8.21 acres with a house at Lisnagar, Rathcormac near the road between Fermoy and Cork City has a €150,000 guide.

Since Allsop started its Irish auctions it has sold 56 landholdings involving a total of 405 acres, worth a combined €5.66 million.

Including all plots, the average price per acre is €226,000. From the perspective of farm land values, the average price per acre is €12,809, which is calculated on the crude basis of excluding plots below four acres.

That is ahead of the €11,500 average price per acre which Ganly Walters (GW) reports farm land was fetching in the first four months of this year. However the GW survey would have included more large farms, so consequently its average price would have been lower.

Robert Hoban of Allsop Space says: "We have witnessed three classes of active bidders, in order of activity: farmers, investors and 'overseas locals'.

"An interesting phenomenon has been the sale of several land lots to Irish emigrants living in places like Australia, USA, New Zealand, UK and the Middle East, with many more bidding unsuccessfully.

"They are cash-rich. If they see plots of land or a house with land close to where they grew up, they register to bid via telephone.

"They then rent the land to a local farmer, or a relative nearby, and wait until the time that they might return home. Often they will bid with no particular plan in place, but solely because the heartstrings take over," he says.

"Many of the farmer buyers are funding from windfalls received from selling land for development.

"In addition, the farming sector has grown significantly in recent years – poor weather allowed – and occupiers now prefer to own rather than rent. We have also seen former owners of land, sold for development, buying them back again at a fraction of the original selling price," he says.

Irish Independent

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