Mark Keenan looks at the top end of Dublin’s crazy rental market where one house has increased its rate by almost 6,000pc
Six years ago it was possible to rent this seven-bedroom trophy home on swish Ailesbury Road in Dublin 4 for €250 per month.
Today the owners of that very same house at No1 Ailesbury Road in Ballsbridge are seeking 60 times that; €15,000 a month, making it one of Ireland's top five most expensive luxury homes to rent in 2020.
But back in February 2014 then 29-year-old art history graduate Leah Reynolds was moving her possessions into the 19th century two-storey over-basement house, to live on the same road as eight international embassies, 11 ambassadors' residences and a roll call of top bankers and lawyers. Her neighbours would include business leaders like Dragon's Den's Gavin Duffy. She would be living a few doors away from the Ailesbury Road house bought by JP McManus for €10m.
At the time Ireland was emerging from a massive property crash which had knocked 70pc off the values of homes on Ailesbury and the neighbouring Shrewsbury Road, for a generation, Ireland's most expensive streets. During the boom years, properties sold here for €10m to €14m on average. After the crash, some sales struggled to exceed €1m. Homes in the area were had been repossession processes or taken over by the banks. No1, which had been the former headquarters of EMI in Ireland, was at that time lying empty.
Reynolds, along with other young "guardians" moved in to protect the historic home as part of an arrangement made through Camelot, the UK based building protection network which installs occupants in vacant buildings to prevent them from being exposed to vandalism or dereliction. The rent was €62.50 a week, or €250 per month.
At the time she told Independent Property: "I came up to Dublin from Cork after completing my higher diploma in art history."
Among her housemates were boyfriend and girlfriend couple Alex McCutcheon and Jenny Sweeney. "I get my own room and we share a kitchen and the reception rooms. The advantage is the location, it's obviously very upmarket and it's very central for me," she said.
By 2014 prices were only starting to revive on Ailesbury Road. The following year saw a big kick upwards when values in D4 rose by 20pc. No2 sold for €2m in 2015. The following year No70 sold for €2.25m and by 2018 No25 changed hands for €4m and the market was heating up again.
In 2014 Camelot also had guardian tenants living in Abbeville, the Dublin mansion and former home of Charles Haughey, then also vacant. The famous Dublin country seat is now owned by a Japanese hotel group.
In the intervening years No1 wasn't sold (according to the Property Price Register) but it did undergo a thorough revamp. A big investment was pumped into its restoration, extension and the landscaping of its gardens.
Now it's back to let again seeking €15,000 per month through Peter Kenny of Knight Frank.
"We are looking for a minimum term of one year. The type of people who rent a property like this are high net worth individuals and business people who need a good home here, maybe on a temporary basis. The last tenant was a UK national and she lived here for three years, now she's moved back home and it's free again.
No1 Shrewsbury Road is among the houses and apartments let out at luxury end of the Irish market where a month's rent can reach the price of a small car. At No1 the tenant is getting a spacious, secure and historic home in the heart of Dublin's best neighbourhood and within easy reach of the city centre.
The rent compares with staying in a top Dublin hotel but affords significantly more privacy and a lot more space.
As we enter 2020 however, the most expensive property to rent in Ireland by far is owned by "Fast" Eddie Irvine. The former Ferrari Formula One driver has raised the rent sought for Ischia, his luxury contemporary villa at Sorrento Road in Dalkey; from €7,000 per month previously sought to €7,000 per week, or €28,000 per month. The house is now advertised through agent Clare Connolly. The minimum leasehold is three months and to top it all off you pay a €200 cleaning fee when you leave.
The contemporary outdoor pool links to an indoor pool area. There's a party-size Jacuzzi with views across Dublin Bay. With five bedrooms and five bathrooms the house has a snooker table, games room, a bar and a cinema room. At 5,500 sq ft it's more than five times the size of an average semi. Irvine placed it on the market 17 years ago for €6.5m and again in 2014 for €4m but it never sold. The Co Down native later bought his own island in the Bahamas.
For the other three homes on the Ireland's most expensive five to rent in 2020, you need to go back to Dublin 4 and to The Galileo Penthouse at Number One Ballbridge, Shelbourne Road.
The swishy top deck apartment at the recently constructed Comer Brothers scheme of luxury apartments and offices, comes with a huge roof garden overlooking the city skyline, four bedrooms and five bathrooms.
Its luxury interior has been designed by Luca Architects. The rent here is €15,000 per month through agent Damien Dillon.
It's flagged as a "home with the luxury of access to a five-star hotel" and has access to the larger complex's leisure centre and expansive orangerie.
Nearby at No5 Elgin Road, also in Ballsbridge you'll also pay €15,000 per month for an elegant five-bedroom period house with five bedrooms and six bathrooms.
The property which is being managed through Bergins estate agents measures 4,600 sq ft and is available on a minimum lease term of 12 months.
For a much smaller let at a similar price but with better views, you'll need to get yourself to Dublin 2's swishy docklands where a roof top one-bedroom apartment at Hanover Dock renting for €3,600 per week, or close to €15,000 per month through agents Briscoe & Shaw.
But to find the highest Irish rent charged, we'd have to go back again six years to 2014 when the late Garech Browne sought a whopping €80,000 per month for his luxury home at Luggala in Co Wicklow.
The price for living at Ireland's then largest private owned country estate included the services of two private cooks, a Rolls Royce and a Mercedes and the services of a butler and chauffeur named Eugene. The house is listed as selling last year for €11.585m.