Bargain hunters pounce as prices slump
In the still unfolding saga of the Irish property market decline, we can see that apartments are still going up -- but their prices are coming down
DUN Laoghaire Rathdown Council appears to be on the warpath when it comes to Sandyford in Dublin.
Already this year it has refused permission for James McKenna's Green Property to put up a cafe/restaurant at its site on Carmanhall Road and Blackthorn Road, near the former Avid Technologies site.
According to the council, the proposal is an inappropriate use of the site and a traffic hazard. DLRC also turned down developer David Arnold's plans to add an additional 38 flats to his development on the adjacent site.
However, his partner in property company Dukedom, Paul Inglis, has had better luck and managed to offload his home, The Birches, Torquay Road, Foxrock, for €2.75m after a couple of big price-drops. The property was first on the market for €3.5m, falling to €3.1m before going for €2.75m last week -- a fall of just over 20 per cent.
U2's multimillionaire manager Paul McGuinness and his wife, Kathy, have decided to remodel their lush city centre pad at No 1, Ely Place, close to the Shelbourne Hotel.
Kathy has applied for planning permission for an "extensive refurbishment of a bedroom and two bathrooms on third floor" of the building.
The couple's main home is in ever-trendy Annamoe, on the way to Laragh in Wicklow. Apart from McGuinness, John Boorman, Paddy Moloney from the Chieftains, and Daniel Day Lewis all live there.
DESPITE the downturn, new planning applications are still flowing into the councils.
Just last week, Gerard Haughey's Dorville Homes put in an application for 47 apartments and townhouses on Abbey Road in Monkstown. At the same time Mary Durcan's Devondale has plans for some 150 apartments on Bird Avenue in Clonskeagh.
Meanwhile, Alan and Lynda McFarlane, of SuperPharm Chemists, have lodged an application to demolish two houses, Navarone & Tablick, on Brennanstown Road in Cabinteely. The couple plans to put up some 76 apartments and townhouses on the site. They must see something on the horizon.
SOME Irish property investors are still heading for London and just as it is in Ireland, there are knock-down prices to be achieved for those that can access the cash.
John Burke and Liam Dowd of Jaguar Capital have picked up No 10, Queen Street Place, overlooking the Thames at Southwark Bridge. The pair paid €225m, the offices originally had a huge €270m price tag, so they managed a 22 per cent reduction, although it does command less rent than some of its neighbours.
Ballymore has bought four sites in Battersea for €212m to extend its reach in the area while Quinlan Private has bought a site for €70m which it plans to develop with Morley close to Paddington.
MEANWHILE, back at home, Irish developers keep cutting prices. So far Capel Construction, Albany and Kingscroft have all cut prices -- sometimes almost back to 2005 levels -- in a bid to shift unwanted apartments, particularly those on the outskirts of Dublin.
The developers will be hoping the price reductions of 10 to 20 per cent get a few people out to the show houses this weekend.
Mega-developer Liam Carroll was trying to go the other way with his gasometer site in the Docklands. Carroll has been hoping to turn the vacant apartments into a 520-bedroom hotel. Dublin councillors have, however, refused the request.
They are worried that the hotel will be at the cheaper end of the scale and attract too many stag and hen parties to the area -- which is now populated by young legal eagles and the high-tech kiddies from the nearby offices.
ONE of the puzzles about the downturn in construction is that it has not added more to unemployment, which has only risen marginally.
The answer could lie in London. Although the UK property market is suffering a malaise not unlike our own, there is one area still booming.
London hosts the Olympics in 2012 -- and as any Irish tradesman will tell you, many Eastern Europeans have already left to pick up the jobs.
There are some 50,000 construction contracts and subcontracts up for grabs on the official London 2012 website, so expect to see many more Irish companies following all those Poles from Ireland to London.