HOUSE OF THE WEEK

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - Property - Tommy Barker re­ports Ground break­ing: Paul Han­non and Norma Healy of Sherry Fitzger­ald, with Michael O’flynn, MD O’ Flynn Group, and Tom O Driscoll, OFG di­rec­tor Pic­ture: Ed­die O’hare

THERE’S a new range of re­al­i­ties to de­liv­er­ing new homes to Ir­ish buy­ers, in a still-re­cov­er­ing prop­erty and con­struc­tion mar­ket, says high-pro­file and sea­soned de­vel­oper Michael O’flynn, as the O’flynn Group this week­end launches a brand new de­vel­op­ment of 144 new-builds. And, one of those re­al­i­ties is the cost of new builds re­gret­tably is still too dear for many as­pir­ing pur­chasers, Mr O’flynn as­serts.

The first 20 homes at Clon­alara, Kerry Pike went for sale yes­ter­day and today, at prices start­ing from €285,000/ €295,000 , for three-bed semi-de­tached homes of 1,113 sq ft.

Larger 1,323 sq ft four-bed are priced from €325,000, and 1,500 sq ft four-bed de­tacheds are priced from €365,000.

As re­ported Thurs­day, Mr O’flynn be­lieves they could and should be cheaper, if im­ped­i­ments in the sys­tem are ad­dressed as well as levies, VAT and land costs, at a time of enor­mous need for new house sup­ply, to buy, and to rent.

“We haven’t a green light to build to meet de­mand, we’ve a flash­ing orange light, at best,” he ob­serves. “Price lev­els are too high; we’re at the stage where an or­di­nary cou­ple who are both work­ing can’t af­ford to buy,” Mr O’flynn says, sug­gest­ing en­try lev­els for starter homes should be €250,000/ €260,000.

The Clon­lara de­vel­op­ment is sig­nif­i­cant on sev­eral fronts, and not just for O’fly­nns, who now have 30 men on site at Kerry Pike, on a 46-acre site they bought from re­ceivers KPMG last year for over €4m.

Pre­vi­ous own­ers Cole­mans got the plan­ning on the site sev­eral years ear­lier, and cu­ri­ously it’s free of any so­cial and af­ford­able hous­ing pro­vi­sions, while for First Time Buy­ers it qual­i­fies for the Help to Buy scheme.

It’s the first de­vel­op­ment of scale at Kerry Pike vil­lage, which is close to Blar­ney and Tower, and eas­ily reached from the 5,000-job Ap­ple Inc plant at Cork’s Hol­ly­hill, where yet an­other fur­ther ex­pan­sion is tak­ing place. It’s also close to Ballincol­lig, where ma­jor em­ploy­ers like EMC and Vmware also em­ploy thou­sands, and it’s just three miles north-west of Cork city’s bound­ary.

The scale of the scheme, with over 140 houses to be built for the prod­uct-starved Cork mar­ket, is also notable, as is the fact there’s a range of nine house types aimed at the starter to mid-markets, with 82 of the houses be­ing the ev­er­re­li­able hous­ing sta­ple, semi-de­tacheds. All are two-storey builds (there’s no ter­races or bun­ga­lows,) block-built with stone de­tail around win­dows and doors, and they’ll have stoves, and air to wa­ter geo­ther­mal heat­ing, and me­chan­i­cal ven­ti­la­tion, en­sur­ing a A3 BER and low run­ning costs. Clon­lara is also of in­ter­est as its the first scheme of scale to break ground in Cork in sev­eral years that isn’t backed by Nama, so its fund­ing and bank fi­nanc­ing is of par­tic­u­lar note.

Sell­ing agents are Sherry Fitzger­ald, who’ve built up a list of sev­eral hun­dred names since the start of the year; Clon­lara’s launch has been awaited since mid2016 af­ter O’fly­nns ac­quired the land with full plan­ning per­mis­sion in place, with de­sign by Doyle Mcdon­agh Nash ar­chi­tects.

Those reg­is­tered names were con­tacted by e-mail this week, in­vited to a soft-launch pre­view from noon yes­ter­day, and today there’s a more open launch, with a mar­ket­ing suite on site open from noon to 2PM.

Tellingly, as one of the ‘new’ re­al­i­ties, the site’s wood-clad mar­ket­ing suite has been trans­ported from its pre­vi­ous base at Mount Oval Vil­lage in Rochestown, where its pres­ence for nearly 15 years helped the O’flynn Group sell over 850 homes: its sales ex­pec­ta­tions at Clon­lara are less oner­ous, with ‘just’ 144 houses due in sev­eral phases of sales.

Sherry Fitzger­ald New Homes Di­rec­tor Paul Han­non, with SF’S Norma Healy, will lead the sales push and they de­scribe the low-pro­file Kerry Pike set­ting as hav­ing “long been a de­sir­able and a highly sought-af­ter res­i­den­tial lo­ca­tion to live.” Clon­lara ad­joins the local 150-pupil Clogheen and Kerry Pike Na­tional School, and the ar­rival of new fam­i­lies is ex­pected to boost teacher num­bers at the ex­ist­ing school, with a short pedes­trian path con­nect­ing it to the new de­vel­op­ment, while the local Gleann na Laoi GAA club is 200 me­tres away.

“This large scheme is a good test for the starved New Homes mar­ket in Cork, and we’re con­fi­dent of se­cur­ing strong sales. The mix of the nine house types en­sures the scheme has a wide and var­ied ap­peal,” says Mr Han­non.

The nine house types at Clon­lara all have Ir­ish tree names, in­clud­ing the Yew, Holly, Oak, Sycamore, Elm, Hawthorn, as well as the Ash, Alder and Aspen: to that list could also be added The Ap­ple, given the Kerry Pike set­ting so close to Ap­ple’s EMEA HQ at Hol­ly­hill?

VERDICT: New homes, new lo­ca­tion, new start.

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