2010 was an extremely bad year for the top-end of the market, with the highest price achieved being a mere €3.74m. Interestingly, it was a year dominated by coastal sales, with five out of the ten sales taking place in Monkstown and two in both Blackrock and Sandycove. Only one top sale took place in Dublin 4, which is a rarity considering a huge number of top sales usually take place in Dublin City (D4/D6), as was the case the following year, in 2011's top sales. 60% of the sales took place in private off-market deals.
1. €3.740M - 'ALBANY HOUSE', ALBANY AVENUE, MONKSOWN
Albany House is as prime homes come in South County Dublin. Sitting on c. 0.82 acres in a coveted seaside location, this approx. 6845sqft two storey over garden level Georgian home, dating from c. 1830, was bound to top the list. The home was sold privately, prior to being advertised on the open market and the price achieved was approximately €546/sqft. The home is accessed by a set of impressive gates at the end of a small street on Albany Avenue, which is located just off Sandycove Avenue. Originally, the home's garden would have stretched the whole way down to the sea, giving it direct sea access, however it has since been shortened in order to accommodate the construction of the DART line and Sandycove Avenue. The house has been owned by a mere handful of families since it was constructed, with the first family maintaining ownership for over 120 years between 1830 and 1951. It was purchased by another family in 1950, who kept the home for over 40 years until 1992. The guide price for the home in 1992, including the coach house in the front garden, was £350k - however, the bidders battled it out at auction and the home was eventually secured for £510k. At this time, the home required an enormous amount of work to modernise it. Since then, the house has not emerged on the open market. The next name following the sale in 1992 that I can associate with the home is Michael Tynan, Esq., who has submitted various planning permission applications for the home between 2002 and 2010. It is possible that the Tynans were the 1992 buyers and that would mean that the buyers in 2010 are only the fourth family to have purchased this special home. The 2010 buyers were the Flood family, with Mrs. M Flood applying for planning permission for various improvements to the home.
2. €3.100M - 'ROCKFORT', 9 SANDYCOVE POINT, SANDYCOVE
|Visualisation of the new 'Rockfort' by de Blacam and Meagher|
Rockfort enjoys a position that is second to none, neighbouring the Joyce's Martello tower. It is difficult to put a price on such a home as it is so truly unique that there is no limit to what the right buyer would pay for this home, which offers clear development potential, given its 0.5 acre site, which includes beautiful natural rock features. Rockfort, as it currently stands, extends to about 3078sq.ft including the external mews buildings that run the length of the garden down to the vehicular entrance on Sandycove Avenue North. Using this square footage, the price achieved for the home was €1007/sqft - which doesn't surprise me whatsoever given this extraordinary location. The main house is approximately 2,152sqft and contains merely two bedrooms. The mews, to the rear, also contains two bedrooms and extends to approximately 926sqft. The current house is a pretty and understated residence with a mixture of gables and bays, which appears to be little more than a small bungalow from the seafront, from where most people spot the home. However, since acquiring the house, the new owner (A. MacGinley), has applied twice to demolish the existing home in order to replace it with something more appropriate for this amazing site and location. MacGinley has used de Blacam and Meaher architects, who are responsible for quite a few of the Dublin coast's newest and best additions in recent years. I am a huge fan of their work, and both of their proposed plans for Rockfort were fantastic. While the first planning application for a three storey c. 6189sqft home was rejected, the second application for a c. 5242sqft three storey home was granted. The above images are a visualisation of the planned home, which will be a fantastic addition to Sandycove Point. The home will feature modern touches such as a master suite with dressing room and ensuite bathroom and an internal lift, to name but a few luxuries. I can't help but be envious of the MacGinley's and their acquisition of Rockfort. Sandycove Point is truly a magical location and it is not often that a home there becomes available for purchase. From the magnificent art deco Geragh House, to Neptune Lodge, which gives the impression of being surrounded by the sea, the new and improved Rockfort will be a welcome addition to the unique homes that Sandycove Point offers. In March, 2013, it was announced that the property is on the market for €3.75m - it seems the MacGinley's are not proceeding with the reconstruction themselves.
3. €3.000M - 23 ELGIN ROAD, BALLSBRIDGE, DUBLIN 4
|Images via Crean Salley Architects|
4. €2.815M - 'SANTA MARIA', SEAPOINT AVENUE, MONKSTOWN
5. €2.600M - 'WOODBURN', 31 SYDNEY AVENUE, BLACKROCK
Woodburn is an attractive 1840's semi-detached house extending to 2476sqft, located on a 0.6 of an acre site on Blackrock's highbrow Sydney Avenue. Given the €2.6m selling price, the price per square foot achieved for this home was €1050/sqft. The house benefits from having extensive frontage onto two roads, 80ft onto Frascati Park and 130ft onto Sydney Avenue, giving it a lot of potential - which the new owners have cashed in on. The owners prior to the 2010 sale had resided in the home for about 30 years, since c. 1980. The site that the house occupies is very mature and filled with trees. The buyers in 2010 were Ruth & Justin Cahill. As they are raising a young family, the Cahills sought permission to completely transform the property into a modern masterpiece. The home will mix old period design with cutting edge design. The new extensions will feature double-height rooms with floor to ceiling glass. The owners are truly bringing the home from a house with potential to a dream house, which extends to approx 4854sqft. The ground floor is the epitome of modern living, with a large open plan kitchen / living / dining room, while still having interconnecting formal dining and living room. Other rooms include two bathrooms on the ground floor, an art room, a study and large utility room. The first floor holds the home's 5 bedrooms. The master suite is expansive, with a large dressing room and ensuite bathroom. Of the other four bedrooms, only one other bedroom has an ensuite bathroom. The other bedrooms share a family bathroom. There is plenty of storage in all of the bedrooms and in the hallways. This home promises to be a home of distinction once it is fully completed, given the fact that it occupies a prime address and will be the poster child for modern living.
To the rear of the property, fronting onto Frascati Park, a planning application was submitted by Anne & Neil Macdougald. The applicants listed themselves as being 'Owners - subject to contract to purchase' on the initial application and later, in 2011, as just owners so they purchased the land between the first and second application. Mr and Mrs Macdougald are the parents of Mrs. Ruth Cahill, who purchased the main Woodburn house. The proposed home is a sizeable c. 1800sqft two bed home, perfect for a mature couple who wish to downsize.
It is nice to see two generations of a family coming together to develop a house in need of plenty of TLC and constructing a new home also.
6. €2.510M - 3 WALTHAM TERRACE, BLACKROCK
No. 3 is a fine 5-bed detached family home, constructed in c. 1836 and is one of the few detached homes on Waltham Terrace. The house remained in the same family between 1921 and 1995, as is the case with many great Dublin homes. The house has so much going for it, both aesthetically and in terms of location. Waltham Terrace is definitely one of Blackrock's, and Dublin's, top addresses and this home is possibly the prettiest on the street. When the home came up for auction in 1995, it had a guide price of £280,000+ and was then withdrawn from auction and advertised as being for sale for private treaty at £295,000. The then purchasers were Yvonne Conroy and John Conroy, a stockbroker. The Conroys made many improvements at No. 3, eventually bringing it from 2690sqft to 4997sqft following various extensions. The home is spread out over three floors - basement level, hall level and first floor. Bizarrely, it seems from the plans (although there are many applications, so it possibly changed) that the master bedroom is at hall level, beside the dining room and living room. The basement level is home to a large living room, kitchen, playroom and utility room. The first floor has four bedrooms. The Conroys also greatly improved the exterior of the property, through extensive planting and landscaping. They are responsible for the beautiful ivy-clad facade of the property, which was once rather bland like its neighbours, and the magnificent stone driveway, to name but a few additions. Given the size of the home as it currently stands, this sale resulted in a sales price of approximately €502/sqft. I would imagine that the property's interior was presented in immaculate condition as the Conroy family appeared to have done so many great things to the home, it would be difficult to envisage the home having an interior that was not fitting of such a wonderful house.
7. €2.500M - 'ARD SONAIS', THE HILL, MONKSTOWN
Sold for slightly less than the €2.571m (£2.025m) that it made in the year 2000, Ard Sonais is a very imposing red brick semi-detached on Monkstown's choicest road, 'The Hill'. The road is lined with impressive period homes, featuring unusually large front gardens and elevated positions, enabling the homes to look down condescendingly at unworthy passerby-ers. In all seriousness, the road is truly beautiful and houses on the street tick most boxes - they offer a secluded setting in a convenient location, good proportions, an abundance of period features, they're visually attractive and offer plenty of outdoor space. It is no surprise that 'The Hill' features twice on this list of top residential sales, with these two adjoining residences (Ard Sonais and Belmont) making the cut. This two-storey over basement home extends to approx 4,250sqft and sits on c. 0.3 acres, with three main reception rooms and 4/5 bedrooms. This selling price equates to a €588/sqft result. The buyer in 2000 was likely to be Susie Barrett, however she claims (via planning permissions) that she did not acquire an interest in the home until June 2001, therefore it is possible that she bought the property a year later for a premium over the €2.571m paid in 2000, although that cannot be confirmed. The guide for the property in 2000 was £1.3-1.5m and it broke those estimates by going for considerably more (£2.025m) showing the high demand for properties on 'The Hill'. The house was sold in 2010 to Mr. John O'Sullivan who has since submitted various planning applications, including one for a new 1.5 storey garage and then later for a 2 storey garage.
8. €2.500M - 10 LONGFORD TERRACE, MONKSTOWN
This attractive 1840's four-storey 4350sqft home first appeared on the market in February 2008 with an asking price of €3,800,000 (€874) only to sell over two years later, in November 2010, for €2,500,000 - a selling price of c. €575/sqft. The seller was John Gordon, who purchased the property back in 1993 and had since taken great care in upgrading and maintaining the property. When Mr. Gordon purchased the property, it was laid out as apartments and he returned it to its former glory. Gordon clearly paid attention to detail throughout the house, which boasts fantastic period features from the restored cornicing and elegant marble fireplaces. The home was decorated using jewel-tones at the time, which is not 'up to date', but presumably the decor was to the buyer's taste as the price paid was slightly high if they intended to completely redecorate the whole house. Longford Terrace is a very pretty terrace with views of Dublin Bay, all the way over to Howth.
9. €2.440M - 8 BREFFNI TERRACE, SANDYCOVE
Last sold in 2001 for €1,070,000 (£842k), 8 Breffni Terrace achieved a strong price in 2010. Considering many other top-end homes sold that year for prices a lot closer to the turn of the millennium prices, this Victorian mid-terrace property did very well to achieve well in excess of twice what the owners paid for it in 2001, selling in an off-market deal at €683/sqft. When it was purchased in 2001 by Mr. Rory McGuirk, it was already renovated and structural works such as rewiring, replumbing, etc. had already been taken care of by the sellers at that time, so we can assume that the McGuirks did little structural work on the property and made cosmetic interior improvements at most. My only guess as to why such a generous price was paid for the home is that the property must be in extremely good decorative order with a top notch finish throughout. The only other house that has traded on Breffni Terrace since the sale of No. 8 was No. 10, which sold in 2012 for €907.5k, considerably less. In fairness to the house, No. 8 is the best house on Breffni Terrace. It is the only house on the street to have individual (non-shared) front vehicular access and it is the only house on the street to retain its original 96ft garden. However, since their purchase of the house in 2010, J & J Kennelly have applied to build a 1391sqft mews at the rear of the property, which would ruin the last remaining original garden on the terrace. I haven't checked in person whether they proceeded with the build or not, but personally I find it bizarre to pay such a premium for this house when one of the reasons for the premium was the original garden, to then go and destroy it and devalue the original house by placing a mews in the garden that impacts so negatively upon the scale and privacy of the garden. The house itself extends to 3573sqft of gracious accommodation.
10. €2.424M - 'BELMONT', THE HILL, MONKSTOWN
Belmont is a semi-detached Victorian home set well back from road from which it is approached, just like its adjoining neighbour, Ard Sonais, which took the No. 8 position on this list. At the time of the sale, the home extended to 4360sqft, giving it a price per square foot of €556/sqft. One of the most appealing features of Belmont is the fact that its site is exceptionally wide, with sufficient room to fit another full house at the side of the existing one. The house was sold in 2010 on the open market with planning permission to add a further 2000sqft to the existing home in order. As with many premium homes on the open market at the time, Belmont dwindled for quite a long period. First launched in August 2009 at €3.5m, it was eventually dropped to €2.95m, then finally €2.55m before it sold for €2.424m. The site on which the home sits isn't exactly huge at about 0.37acres, but it is comfortable and the gardens enjoy a heightened sense of privacy with high hedging at the front and very impressive entrance pillars. However, my only criticism about the house is the fact that it has the Monkstown Gate apartment complex to the west of it and the entrance road to the Pakenham apartment complex behind its rear garden, which is not ideal. The house was purchased on the open market in 1998 by Mr. Donogh Lysaght for €1,333,500 (£1.05m). The home was in top condition, and this price represented the top price ever achieved for a house in the area and was a testament to the quality and potential of the home. Mr Lysaght owned the house up until at least 2006, if not later, however in 2009 a planning application lists a Mr & Mrs Brian Hogan as the owners of the home, so it appears that they probably purchased the home in an off-market deal between 2006 and 2009 and then put it on the open market in 2009 after applying for planning. Personally I think the house was a great buy in 2010, it has the possibility to be truly wonderful with further additions. The planning permission in place allows for the creation of one of Monkstown's premier residences - a lavish mansion with amenities such as a full library, gym, huge master suite and top quality conservatory to name but a few features. I would love to see the finished product.