The new home view: Life's a breeze in The Willows
According to fresh predictions from the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (IPAV), house prices in Dublin are set to hit boom-time levels within the year. So it's no surprise that the boom era-style exodus of family homebuyers from the capital to the commuter belt continues apace.
In Co Meath, where IPAV's new figures show that the cost of the average family home is less than half of that in Dublin, first-time buyers seeking a house in a semi-rural village with good schools and GAA clubs close to the capital are flocking to Dunshaughlin.
The village has two primary schools and a secondary school, Dunshaughlin Community College, which was selected as one of 12 schools worldwide to take part in Microsoft's Innovative Schools Programme. The village also appeals to house-hunters working for nearby employers such as Intel, Dublin Airport, and Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown.
It's this customer base that the developer of The Willows is targeting. The new scheme of 200 three and four-bed semi-detached homes off the Old Dublin Road is being launched today, with 40 properties available in the first phase. The Willows is being developed by GEM Group and is funded by Activate Capital, a state-backed lender that's providing finance to developers for residential sites in the greater Dublin area.
The houses were designed by McCrossan O'Rourke Manning with growing families in mind: each three-bed has the potential for a future attic conversion, while the four-beds are already laid out over three floors. There will also be a playground on site.
The three-beds, which extend over 1,248 sq ft, are mainly priced from €305,000, while the four-beds, which measure 1,657 sq ft, cost from €345,000. The three-beds are named after the river Boyne while the four-beds are called Killeen, after nearby 800-year-old Killeen Castle.
The houses have traditional brick facades with reconstituted sandstone to the sills and surrounds of the large white-framed UPVC double-glazed windows. There is a glazed sidelight to the hardwood-framed front door and a feature wall light to the entrance. Each house comes with a paved driveway with enough parking for two cars, while out back, the garden has timber fencing with a matching side-gate.
The fitted kitchen from BeSpace is in a contemporary style, with integrated LED lighting and soft-close drawer units. BeSpace also supplied the fitted wardrobes in the bedrooms and the large walk-in wardrobe to each master ensuite.
There are recessed LED downlighters and heated towel rails to all the bathrooms. The walls of the ground floor have painted timber panelling, while the handrail to the stairs is solid mahogany. The A3-rated homes are heated via a gas condensing boiler, while PV panels on the roof generate electricity from solar energy. Both features keep utility bills in check.
Dunshaughlin is a 20-minute drive to the M50 ring road. The opening of the nearby M3 motorway in 2010 has significantly reduced travel times into Dublin city centre. The M3 bypasses Dunshaughlin, Navan and Kells, so there is no longer a bottleneck entering and leaving Dunshaughlin during rush hour, the selling agent says.
Would-be residents of The Willows can also commute by rail in less than half an hour from the M3 Parkway, the largest park-and-ride facility in the country, which is 9km from Dunshaughlin. There are also 40 daily bus services to and from the capital.
The showhouses open for the first time today, between 3pm and 6pm, with viewings continuing from 2:30pm to 4pm tomorrow and Sunday.
Dunshaughlin, Co Meath
Asking price: €305,000-€345,000 Agent: Hooke & MacDonald (01) 631 8402 or Dillon Property Service Provider (01) 8259154