Kinsale market holds its own with Cluain Mara launch
According to current wisdom, it is nigh on impossible to build a new homes development in the countryside, cover your costs and make a profit - unless Nama is involved. However, a new development, launching this weekend with Savills in Kinsale, is bucking that trend with a launch of high-spec homes at prices ranging from €460,000 to €550,000.
"Kinsale is a market all on its own; it never really runs the same as the rest of the market even during really bad times," says Catherine McAuliffe, Director of Residential at Savills in Cork. "You would always have had plenty going on there. This development is the first brand-new development to put on a showhouse proper in Cork for about 10 years."
While the pretty seaside town may not be the typical area for a new homes development, this launch is the first of two in the area that Savills will bring to the market in the next month.
Cluain Mara at Farm Lane consists of 27 high-spec, spacious homes with a BER rating of A2. This first phase brings eight homes to the market, all four-bedroom detached units.
There are two different types of build - Type A, four beds of 227sqm, of which there are two on sale; and Type C, a four bed of 169sqm. Prices range from €460,000 to €550,000, with completion due in four months' time.
Savills anticipates buyer interest from a mixture of holiday-home buyers - having received several inquiries from Dublin during the week - commuters moving away from Cork City and those with an already established interest in the area, such as the fine sailing to be had, for example.
The site is on the Cork side of Kinsale, so from a potential commuter's point of view, it is easily accessible.
These spacious family homes with four double bedrooms would also be perfectly suited to the downsizer looking forward to regular visits from children or other extended family. The gardens are low-maintenance and the site is within 10 minutes' walk of the town.
As interior designer Niamh MacGowan, who had creative input on the project from the outset, points out: "You're not in isolation, but you're still getting to live in the countryside."
MacGowan and developers Centurion Homes set out to do something deliberately different from the typical new homes scheme look. "When the call came originally, I laughed and instantly said no, because I specialise in making homes homely and unique - probably the opposite of a typical formulaic show house," explains MacGowan.
In a nod to the area's traditional bright house frontages, for example, MacGowan has used three different shades from Irish paint company Colortrend's collection.
"It will lend the enclave a much gentler feel. It's not a suburban house, it just happens to be in an enclave."
She also designed a spacious layout for the kitchen to allow a balance between fitted units by kitchen company Kube and the purchaser's own choice of furniture, creating a sense of a space to be used day-long rather than just at mealtimes.
The show house has been laid out to show the potential of these homes as a space for social family gatherings.
"Lifestyle has been at the forefront of my mind throughout the build, so I have focused the sitting room around the wood-burning stove rather than a giant TV," says MacGowan. "I have sourced wooden boardgames, all collected in an antique wooden cupboard, so the family can imagine gathering around in that cosy space for hours of fun and games after a day out sailing or hill walking."
PC sums are included for fitted kitchens and wardrobes by Kube and for wood-burning stoves.
MacGowan calls the house the "natural showhome", and has employed all her signature textures and materials, including wood, metals, linen, tweed and wool, as well as commissioning piece from local crafts makers. These can be replicated at a buyer's request.
Where: Cluain Mara, Farm Lane, Kinsale, Co Cork
Price: From €460,000 to €550,000
Viewing: Today, 2-4pm and then by appointment
Agent: Savills (021) 427 1371