There were an extra 500 properties available to rent in Dublin over the last two months than there were during the same period in 2019, a Daft.ie report showed this week.
More than seven weeks of lockdown - aimed at quelling the spread of Covid-19 - and rising unemployment may have slashed demand for rental properties, but the trend of institutional investors buying up entire blocks of apartments to let out means that individuals keen on purchasing an apartment of their own still face a limited supply.
New Priory, in the north Dublin suburb of Donaghmede, is one of the few apartment schemes in the capital that's aimed at owner-occupiers. But thanks to its complex history, the development isn't exactly new: it is rising from the ashes of Priory Hall, which was developed off the Hole in the Wall Road during the Celtic Tiger by former IRA hunger striker Tom McFeely.
In 2011, the apartments were condemned by fire safety inspectors. The complex was evacuated by court order and the debts of the former apartment owners were eventually written off. After the evacuation order, Dublin City Council took on the task of refurbishing the entire 187-unit development, with a portion of the apartments earmarked for social housing.
This lengthy rebuild involved replacing the whole roof, the timber-framed penthouses and the external walls and windows - this time with the appropriate fire stoppings. All the internal finishes, partitions, joinery and mechanical and electrical installations were also replaced. New fire detections systems, emergency lighting, automatic smoke ventilation and fire-fighting equipment were installed throughout. The original footpaths, roads and car parking were also removed and relaid, and a new playground was built.
The new-look development was renamed New Priory and was launched in October 2016, with the first batch of apartments snapped up in just four days. The second phase didn't go on the market until last September, and the final phase of 30 apartments is poised to go on sale soon. This last phase, which comprises two blocks of apartments to the front of New Priory, was delayed by lockdown, but with building workers going back to work on Monday, the development can be completed.
Hooke & MacDonald says prices in the final phase start at €195,000 for a one-bed apartment measuring 484 sq ft, while a 667 sq ft two-bed version is priced from €240,000. The three-bed duplexes, which each span 947 sq ft, cost from €300,000.
While the prices are decidedly in first-time buyer territory, the apartments don't qualify for the help-to-buy scheme, which only applies to newly-built homes.
The final batch of apartments overlooks the 53-acre Father Collins Park. Opened in 2009, the park has a 1.5km running/cycling track, playing pitches, fitness stations, and two playgrounds.
Inside New Priory, there is porcelain tiling to the entrance lobby. Each apartment has a contemporary-style kitchen fitted with white high-gloss lacquered units from Kitchen Elegance, appliances, and Axiom Paloma worktops.
The bathrooms and ensuites come with tiled floors, partially tiled walls, contemporary-style sanitaryware, a bath screen or shower door, and heated towel rails.