Value to the fore at Churchfields
Churchfields, Ashbourne, Co Meath Asking price: €272,000-€380,000 Agent: Hooke & MacDonald (01) 6318402 and REA T&J Gavigan (046) 9023232
In 1970, Ashbourne was a village with a population of just 400. But in the following decades, the Meath settlement became subsumed into the greater Dublin area as housing estates sprung up based on the American open-plan style, rather than with fenced-off gardens. This led to a mushrooming of the population, which now stands at about 14,000 people.
Despite such rapid growth and development, parts of Ashbourne retain a country village air.
As the town is just 20km north of Dublin City Centre, it has become popular with first-time buyers and growing families priced out of housing in the capital and willing to live in homes further afield.
It is this demographic that Cairn Homes is targeting with Churchfields, a new development of 300 properties right beside Ashbourne town centre. The showhouses opened for the first time yesterday, with viewings continuing right through the weekend.
An older version of Churchfields was launched at a nearby site in 2007 by Kealahill Homes, which later went into receivership.
Cairn Homes, the publicly-listed homebuilder, acquired the site and completely revamped it by rejuvenating the specification, build and finish of the homes, according to one of the joint selling agents. The developer is now building brand new three, four and five-bed family houses there.
The first phase, consisting of 40 houses, will command "special launch prices", the agent said. Prices start at €272,000 for the three-bed, plan H, two-storey homes, which measure 1,160 sq ft, and at €295,000 for plan D, 1,258-sq ft version.
The four-bed, semi-detached two-storey homes that belong to plan C cost from €340,000 and extend over 1,463 sq ft, while a three-storey version of the four-bed, from plan C1 and measuring 1,883 sq ft, is priced from €380,000. Four and five-bed detached styles will be available in a later phase.
Michael Stanley, chief executive of Cairn Homes, said: "With prices starting from €272,000, we believe the Churchfields scheme offers exceptional value for first-time buyers and families in Meath as well those looking for a convenient commute into the city."
The facades are finished in Ibstock brick and natural limestone window surrounds and sills.
The rear paved patio and back garden can be accessed either by a large glazed screen with patio doors or by a treated-timber side passage gate.
To the front, paved driveways can accommodate two cars. The landscaped areas have been planted with trees native to the locality and mixed beds of flowering shrubs, grasses and perennials to attract bees, butterflies and birds.
The interior features that come as standard at Churchfields include contemporary kitchens with gloss doors, a kitchen island or peninsula and underfloor heating, 9ft ceilings at ground floor level, a hardwood handrail to the staircase, solid timber painted doors, contemporary grooved architrave and skirting, and fitted wardrobes in the bedrooms.
The main bathroom, downstairs WC and ensuites will have tiling to the wet areas, fitted showers, sanitary ware and natural Skytube lights.
All of the plans, except for type H, will have a convertible attic space: the roof trusses have been made ready for future conversion with a pull-down attic ladder. The houses are designed to minimise energy consumption with roof-mounted PV panels to generate additional electricity, a high-efficiency gas-fired boiler and a demand control ventilation system that ensures an automatic supply of fresh air into the home.
All of these features combine to deliver dwellings with an A3 energy rating. The running costs for would-be homeowners at Churchfields will be less than €2 a day for heating, hot water, lighting and ventilation, according to guidelines on standardised occupancy by the Sustainable Energy Association of Ireland.
Churchfields is located in an area with a slew of schools, including Ashbourne Educate Together National School, St Mary's National School, Gaelscoil na Cille and St Andrew's National School.
Ashbourne is close to the junction of the N2 and M2 motorway, providing a direct link to the M50.
The showhouses at Churchfields will be open between 12pm-2pm today and from 2pm-4pm tomorrow and Sunday. Completions will start in November.