Friday 22 June 2018

Great sea views from the commuter belt

The New Homes season kicks off with a new development of four-bedroom homes in Donabate, Co Dublin, writes Liadan Hynes

Kingsland is a small development of 29 four-bedroom houses in an increasingly popular commuter suburb of north county Dublin
Kingsland is a small development of 29 four-bedroom houses in an increasingly popular commuter suburb of north county Dublin

As the New Homes season kicks off, the market remains challenged by several factors. Supply is an ongoing issue, of course. Estimates of how many new homes are needed each year vary from 20,000 to 50,000, but regardless of which figure is more accurate, the market is still some way off meeting demand.

A housing report published in December by Hooke & MacDonald, Downey Planning and Dr Brian Hughes, found that several factors were responsible for inhibiting the number of new homes being built. These included byzantine levels of bureaucracy during the planning application process, specifically "a lack of accountability in planning authorities for delays and certain decisions being made", with developers unable or unwilling to rock the boat by drawing attention to these issues in order to maintain a working relationship with planning authorities.

Another issue identified is the shortage of higher density apartment developments. These continue to be financially unviable except on sites that were "purchased at historically low prices or in a small number of prime and high-value locations", the report found.

Housing minister Eoghan Murphy's planned changes in regard to regulations such as the number of lift shafts, and underground car parking will go some way towards helping this situation. Lack of available development land, VAT levels, and uncertain conditions for investors were also found to be factors at play.

Kingsland is a small development of 29 four-bedroom houses in an increasingly popular commuter suburb of north county Dublin
Kingsland is a small development of 29 four-bedroom houses in an increasingly popular commuter suburb of north county Dublin

The report also found that when viewing homes in the commuter belt, buyers were motivated by proximity to good schools and transport links, as well accessibility to other amenities.

This week saw the first Dublin launch of the year with Kingsland in Donabate, an area that ticks many of those boxes and is increasingly popular among commuters. Set to the west of Donabate village, the scheme is a couple of minutes' drive from the main street, and less than five minutes' walk from Rogerstown Estuary, which can be seen from Kingsland.

There are a number of local schools, with a secondary school and an Educate Together primary school as well as two other primary schools all within walking distance of Kingsland. Off peak, a drive to the city centre takes roughly 20 minutes; in rush hour, the journey is closer to an hour. There is a commuter rail service linking it to Malahide and Dublin city centre, as well as a Dublin Bus service. Nearby landmarks include Donabate beach, and Newbridge House and Farm. This is a small development, with 29 units in total, set around a landscaped green, and accessed by a long driveway flanked by another sizeable landscaped space. Four-bed semi-detached houses, approximately 136sqm, are priced from €430,000.

The plot is bordered on one side by existing residential units, on the other by open land leading to the estuary. The layout of the ground floor in the four-bed units is slightly unusual - the traditional hall space has been sacrificed to give the open-plan living/dining/kitchen ground floor a larger footprint. The usual hall space has been co-opted into an under stairs area that is part of the communal space and would work well as a small home office/homework area. The downstairs WC is located to the rear of the house, leading off the utility room, rather than off the hall.

The back wall of glass doors, in this case double glazed bi-fold doors, open to the patio area.

Set over three storeys, the first floor includes three bedrooms, two double, one of which is en suite, and one single, and a main bathroom. The master suite on the second floor includes an en suite and large wardrobe/dressing area, as well as sea views in some cases. Most are double aspect.

Other features include exterior electric car charging points at the front entrance of each house and two parking spaces, modern handle-less kitchen units in a matte dove grey finish, sanitary ware in all bathrooms and en suites, with tiled shower enclosures, as well as floor and wall tiling, and built-in wardrobes. Timber effect laminate flooring has been provided on the ground floor.

Viewing: Today, 2.30-4pm

Agent: Hooke & MacDonald (01) 631 8402

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