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The top five Dublin property hotspots...Which Dublin locations are most fraught for home buyers right now

Posted 2/5/2015

These are the locations where the supply of homes coming to market is in single rather than double digits per month, where the Saturday viewings run into hundreds rather than dozens, where time on the market can be measured in days rather than weeks and where the bidding most often ends up in the dreaded “best and final offer” sealed envelope session.

To discover Dublin's hottest five markets right now, we asked three of the capital's largest estate agencies — Douglas Newman Good, Sherry FitzGerald and Savills to nominate the areas in which buyers would have the most difficult time trying to buy a house at the moment.

They're not necessarily the best areas to live in — although some of these do feature — but rather the areas in which competition for a limited number of abodes is most heated.

Not all agents agreed on the top five most heated markets. Sherry FitzGerald would have preferred to include Rathfarnham and Churchtown and Savills would have included Blackrock, from the village itself to Mount Merrion.

But overall based on the combination of their views we have come up with the five neighbourhoods where home hunters will have the most difficult time acquiring a property in present market conditions.

Here they are in descending order, moving towards the hottest and most fraught:

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5th hottest market: Portobello, Dublin 8

Located just inside the Grand Canal facing Rathmines, Portobello in Dublin 8 has become the sought after neighbourhood for arty and media people who relish their city living, their independence from status symbols such as cars and the area's echoes of left bank ambience.

These home buyers also enjoy walking home from the trendy pubs and restaurants in the buzzing area between Dawson St and George's St, or meeting up with their still renting friends in Rathmines.

“It's as close as you can get to the city without being in the city as such,” says Keith Lowe of DNG.

Owners who took their first step in the property ladder with a smaller house in another area like to move to this spot which is located between the canal and Camden St.

Then there's the inverted snobbery, some buy so they can boast that they haven't sold out to suburbia, unlike some of their more settled rivals.

Scarcity is another factor with only seven houses currently for sale and five of those have only two bedrooms or less. One of these, on Kingsland Park Avenue, is priced at €300,000 but most are over €475,000. A couple of large houses are now asking €600,000.

While the Dublin 8 area, where Portobello is located, has more than 70 apartments for sale, not one of these is available in the Portobello enclave.

 

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4th hottest market: Rathgar, Dublin 6

Ever since it was the address of choice for Taoisigh and Government ministers, and that was back in the 60s and 70s, Rathgar has been one of Dublin's hottest markets. Today it still pulls in well-funded families wishing to place their children in nearby private schools such as Alexandra College, High School, St Mary's, Gonzaga, and Stratford.

But the key attractions are the well-preserved period houses, built by the famous Stringers early in the last century, and especially those that retained their large gardens which can achieve prices in the €2m to €3m range. Its tree-lined roads and nearby riverside walks along the Dodder create a garden city ambience.

A recent search shows 30 houses for sale with as many as 24 of these priced at over €500,000. So for first time buyers it's a difficult area to get on the ladder. More than a third of the current supply of houses are pitched at the millionaire buyers with asking prices between €900,000 and €3m.

Rathgar has recently seen a number of newly built houses which show that its strong prices are sufficient to entice house builders back into the market.

Scarcity of supply also includes its apartment market, especially for two bedroom units. Only six apartments are for sale in the area and all but one of those are one bedroom units all of which are priced between €160,000 and €250,000.

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3rd hottest market: Clontarf, Dublin 3

Clontarf ranks third in our property hotspots survey. Its combination of close proximity to the city, its selection of mature and large period properties and of course the seaside proximity and views mean it's the north city's most sought after and fought over address.

Keith Lowe of Douglas Newman Good says demand is especially strong for good houses with decent gardens attached and a lot of modern trophy homes were built in the area during the boom, squeezed into infill sites whenever they became available. It also attracts buyers for doer uppers on good roads.

Interestingly, demand in Clontarf was among the last locations to see demand fall off in Dublin when the property crash kicked in. Some would argue that demand for property |here never really waned |at all.

Sarah McCoy of Sherry FitzGerald says the Georgian period homes that come to the market “are few and far between and those that are coming to the market have phenomenal interest. Anything in good condition will go over the €1m mark.”

Iris Keating of Savills says demand is underpinned by local people who during the boom, had been priced out to other areas and who are now returning to be near where they grew up. They also include families who bought in places like Marino and Raheny and are now trading up to bigger houses with sea views.

The supply demand imbalance is reflected in how just 24 homes were on the market at the time of our survey and ranging between €185,000 and €1.25 million in guide price. For families the choice is even more limited as only 17 of these houses offer three or four bedrooms.

Clontarf accommodation is also sought by those working in the nearby East Point Business Park as well as empty nesters trading down looking for flats with sea views.

Consequently only 14 apartments are for sale at prices ranging between €195,000 and €375,000.Ranelagh trumps for yummy mummy’s and high-flying socialites.

 

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2nd hottest market: Donnybrook and Dublin 4 generally

The Dublin 4 market caused the hottest debate among our agents with all agreeing that the postcode should be included in second place in its entirety.

While two agents were reluctant to nominate a particular village or neighbourhood of D4, Sherry FitzGerald plumped for Donnybrook followed closely by Ringsend. Sandymount is also sought after because of its combination of easy Dart access and nearby sea front.

A recent search showed as many as 25 houses in D4 with guide prices pitched at millionaires and the most expensive of these houses is 25 Ailesbury Road, Ballsbridge, a five bedroom terraced house with a floor area of 427 sq m for which Lisney are quoting €3.25m.

The perennial appeal of the Ailesbury/ Shrewsbury area was reflected in how quickly those houses owned by cheer leaders of the boom, such as Derek Quinlan, Bernard McNamara, Sean Dunne and Tom Fehily, were snapped up at even before the recovery got under way. That was a time when houses in most other areas were very slow to sell.

Now those seeking houses in the more modest €250,000 to €700,000 price bracket, have a choice of only 45.

There's a similar number of flats and 17, or more than a third of the flats, have very strong prices — between €400,000 and €975,000. With the mix of tech companies and major legal firms locating at nearby Grand Canal Harbour, it's not surprising that vendors are expecting to achieve such strong prices.

Donnybrook Village has also seen a noted resurgence of boutique cafes and high end eateries following a notable slump in the property crash years.

 

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Dublin’s hottest market: Ranelagh, Dublin 6

The recent arrival of Gordon Darcy-backed Exchequer wine bar, across the road from the recently opened FlyeFit 24-hour gym, sums up Ranelagh — a combination of daytime café society for yummy mummies and a fun-filled and healthy night life. It has also been a magnet for Dinkies, couples with double incomes and no kids, while its top class schools such as Gonzaga, Sandford Park and Muckross, means they won't have to move when they do decide to have a family.

The scene of colourful election battles, it was here that Green Party leader John Gormley fought with PD leader Michael McDowell to rally their voters — the former's being those who did their bit for the environment by walking to work, and the latter's those who voted to protect their spending power with tax cuts. It neatly summed up the area's populace.

A key attraction is its wide choice of restaurants (like Dillingers, above) and if one should close there's always another to take its place.

As one observer remarked the village is more Dublin's Notting Hill than Mayfair, a land of red brick and shabby chic where back gardens are coral (Indian sandstone).

A search for two to five bedroom houses in Ranelagh week showed only 18 for sale. While these range in price from €260,000 for a two bedroom terraced house at 14 Athlumney Villas, as many as six of these houses are asking more than €970,000 which is well over the €600,000 to €700,000 price range for which demand is strongest.

Modestly price homes of less than €450,000 and including apartments are limited to only nine properties.

At the top of the market is Glenthorne, 134 Sandford Road, for which Colliers are guiding €2.7m in advance of its auction on May 7.

This five bed semi has a tastefully restored 5,160 sq ft of living space and also comes with a guest lodge of around 850 sq ft.

In 2012 four houses on Moyne Road in various sizes and conditions sold for between €530,000 and €675,000. Then last year only two sold, both terraced, and the prices had moved up to €600,000 for the three bedroom property and €786,500 for the four bedroom.

Now 18 Moyne Road, is for sale with a €975,000 price tag through Sherry FitzGerald.

For those looking for a doer-upper, 39 Mountain View Road, a three bed semi with over 1200 sq ft, will go to auction with Lisney's €750,000 guide price on May 7.

Ranelagh is where you are most likely to end up fighting it out in a “do or die” best and final offer sealed bidding session.