Prop­er­ties in league of their own

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - KINSALE - Tommy Barker PROP­ERTY ED­I­TOR

Kin­sale has done tourism, par ex­cel­lence, since the 1960s, and with 50 years of in­ter­na­tional ku­dos un­der its belt, vis­i­tor ap­peal from far- flung places and home shores too has nat­u­rally also fed into a very healthy prop­erty mar­ket, much of it buoyed by buy­ers from abroad.

“Kin­sale con­tin­ues — as al­ways — to be a niche mar­ket of its own, and de­mand re­mains con­sis­tent with strong prices now be­ing achieved right across the board,” says es­tate agent Cather­ine McAuliffe, a di­rec­tor in Sav­ills, Cork.

Apart from some high­end list­ings (plus a €775,000 ‘ life­style’ Bal­ly­william farm­house clus­ter with be­guil­ing old stone barns on six acres near Eli Lilly where a € 200m biotech ex­pan­sion is about to start at Dun­der­row), Sav­ills has been ac­tively sell­ing two new- build schemes, Con­vent Walk with Cum­nor Con­struc­tion, and Clu­ain Mara. The lat­ter nearly sold out (see separate new homes sec­tion) for Dublin- based de­vel­op­ers as­so­ci­ated with Claren­don Prop­er­ties, and mak­ing a steady foray into the over­all Cork mar­ket.

Ac­cord­ing to Ms McAu- liffe, thanks to the spread of ex­ist­ing stock and the sup­ply since last year and into the next as well as new builds, “Kin­sale re­mains a go-to lo­ca­tion for ex­pats re­turn­ing home, es­pe­cially from the gen­eral Cork area, and it is still af­ford­able to those that at one time per­haps only as­pired to liv­ing there”.

Why? “Of course the at­trac­tion is life­style, with­out a doubt; views, and ac­cess to the sea, a va­ri­ety of beaches and ev­ery wa­ter sport you can think of.”

There’s also prox­im­ity to Cork City and air­port, half an hour away or less, and put­ting Lon­don and other Euro­pean des­ti­na­tions within easy reach.

Oh, and there’s also a cer­tain thing called the Old Head of Kin­sale Golf Course, which has lured some of the planet’s wealth­i­est peo­ple to play. It’s a huge in­come gen­er­a­tor for Kin­sale, and has also fed into the pur­chase of some of the area’s top pri­vate homes. (Sources say Don­ald Trump ran his fi­nan­cial rule over the Old Head, be­fore plump­ing to buy Doon­beg in­stead. Kin­sale, breathed a sigh of re­lief.)

Pre­par­ing to launch the sig­nif­i­cant Kin­sale Manor devel­op­ment of 136 new homes later this sum­mer, Paul Han­non and Johnny O’Flynn of Sherry FitzGer­ald say: “Kin­sale is seen as a brand, with wide ap­peal and good ac­cess to Cork Air­port. It’s also the en­trance to the Wild At­lantic Way.”

From pre-regis­tra­tion in­quiries, they say the de­mand is com­ing from FTBs, both traders up and traders down, and sec­ond- home hunters.

They note the lack of avail­able stock in all house price brack­ets in Kin­sale, and with a num­ber of the more sig­nif­i­cant top prices recorded in the last sev­eral years, Mr O’ Flynn says view­ers for the larger prop­er­ties “have come from the lo­cal­ity, Dublin, the UK, US, Hong Kong, and, most re­cently Saudi Ara­bia.”

“Brexit has not im­pacted in Kin­sale’s sec­ond- hand mar­ket, as the US buyer ap­pears to be very strong at present,” he adds.

Lo­cal agent James Mur­phy says most of his sales are to Ir­ish buy­ers, ei­ther trad­ing up or who’ve al­ready sold. He op­er­ates out of Kin­sale and claims 53 sales in 2016. “That’s nearly one a week... and they were not small prop­er­ties ei­ther!”

A sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of his sales were to peo­ple who had been rent­ing, he adds.

( Speak­ing of short­age of hous­ing sup­ply, while Daft. ie records 92 Kin­sale prop­er­ties for sale, it has just 11 up for rent, some at up to €2,500 a month and the town has al­ways been strong in the cor­po­rate rental sec­tor. The cheap­est is €750 a month, ad­ver­tised by peo­ple try­ing to sell a ru­ral bun­ga­low and hop­ing to rent it to a ‘care­taker’ who’ll mind it, and the gardens, and pay what they say is a be­low- mar­ket level rent, dur­ing the sales process.

Long-time Kin­sale agent Vic­to­ria Mur­phy says the town is “is back thriv­ing, com­pared to a few years ago. Builders’ vans are ev­ery­where, work­ing on a com­bi­na­tion of es­tates, much needed I am sure, as well as on some de­li­cious, one- off houses. And to get a plumber is like look­ing for hen’s teeth!”

With some new Kin­sale hous­ing stock priced over € 550,000 and into the €600,000 range, Ms Mur­phy says there’s scope for those pre­pared to think more broadly. She in­stances a large but dated dormer built decades ago by Joe Neville, called Riverview at Mans­field lands, on nearly an acre with out­door swim­ming pool. I t guides at €600,000, but may be sold for less, and has fur­ther site po­ten­tial, she reck­ons.

“Most peo­ple want to live in town, near ev­ery­thing. The hard­est prop­er­ties to sell are those out of town: Par­ents hate the fetch­ing and car­ry­ing of kids. And, el­derly peo­ple — there’s lots of those in Kin­sale — and the re­tired want to be able to walk to the pubs and restau­rants that it’s so noted for.”

Pic­ture: De­nis Scan­nell

Com­ing up roses: De­spite fears of a slow­down in US FDI in­vest­ment af­ter Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion as US pres­i­dent, Kin­sale-based Eli Lilly has con­firmed a fur­ther ex­pan­sion worth €200m at its Dun­der­row, Kin­sale plant.

Orig­i­nally con­tro­ver­sial, the Old Head Golf Links, Kin­sale has had a ma­jor money-spin­ning ef­fect on Kin­sale, and its prop­erty mar­ket

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