House Hunting in … Ireland

This five-bedroom, three-bath house is on a quiet lane in the Ballsbridge neighborhood of Dublin. It was built on the site of a coach house and stables for an adjacent property in the 1970s, when the owners of that property decided to downsize, said Harriet Grant, an agent with Savills, which has the listing.

“Because they were building for themselves in their own garden, they were able to choose the size of the garden for their new mews house,” Ms. Grant said. “So the property has a bigger garden than you would normally get.”

The current owners expanded and modernized the 0.7-acre property in 2003 by extending the foyer and kitchen in the front of the brick house, adding a third floor with a spacious terrace and erecting sliding-glass doors and walls in the living areas for an indoor-outdoor feeling. There is a courtyard garden in the front and a large, professionally landscaped garden in the back. In a nod to the property’s past, two wrought-iron hay feeders remain attached to the stone wall that conceals the home from passers-by, Ms. Grant said.

A wood gate in the wall opens to a paved front courtyard, which has space for parking and a garden with a raised wood deck. Inside the 2,250-square-foot house, a covered entryway opens into a foyer off the dining area, where a glass door slides opens to the courtyard. The kitchen and breakfast room are to the left of the foyer, with glass walls facing the courtyard. The living room extends the width of the back of the house and has glass doors that slide open to the rear garden.

The west-facing garden is landscaped with shrubbery, flower beds and fruit trees. The lawn is ringed by wood decking, with a small dining terrace in the back.


CreditPaul O’Connell for The New York Times

CreditPaul O’Connell for The New York Times

A glass-sided staircase leads to the second floor, where there are four bedrooms. One of the bedrooms has an en suite bathroom, and the other three share a bathroom with a tub. The master suite, on the third floor, has a sitting room, a shower with a glass ceiling and large glass doors that open to a sheltered terrace overlooking the neighborhood.

One of the priciest sections of Dublin, Ballsbridge is home to most of the city’s foreign embassies, which are interspersed with upscale hotels and restaurants. It is also home to many sports clubs and Aviva Stadium, which holds the home games of the national rugby union team and the national football team. The neighborhood’s tree-lined streets are prized for their Victorian and Georgian homes, Ms. Grant said.

Raglan Lane, where this house is, once served as a simple entryway to the coach houses on neighboring Wellington Road. Today, it is “one of the hottest stretches of mews property in the country,” according to the Irish Times.

The property is less than two miles from Sandymount beach, on the eastern coast of Ireland, and less than two miles in the other direction from the historic center of Dublin. The nearest bus stop is a five-minute walk. Dublin Airport is 10 miles north, about a half-hour drive without traffic.

Housing prices in Dublin have recovered about 80 percent of their value since the market peaked before the financial crisis of 2008 and then bottomed out in 2012, according to the May 2019 property price index report from the country’s Central Statistics Office. But after several years of rapidly increasingly prices, the market is cooling.

Prices in Dublin rose 0.6 percent during the year ending May 2019, a marked reduction from the 10.7 percent growth during the same period a year earlier. (Across Ireland, prices increased by 2.8 percent from May 2018 to May 2019, following a 12.4 percent increase during the previous year.)

CreditPaul O’Connell for The New York Times

“The madness on the prices is coming to a cooling point, but there’s still very much a functioning market,” Ms. Grant said.

Paul Murgatroyd, the director of research and business development at the Dublin-based agency Douglas Newman Good, attributed the slowdown to mortgage lending rules instituted in 2015 by the Central Bank of Ireland that aimed to curtail reckless lending and borrowing. The laws restrict buyers from borrowing more than 3.5 times their gross income. First-time buyers must put down at least 10 percent; others must put down at least 20 percent.

The laws make buying property especially challenging for entry-level buyers in Dublin, where the average resale price in the second quarter of 2019 was about 455,000 euros ($510,000), Mr. Murgatroyd said. “Like many capital cities in the world, it’s not a market that’s favorable across the board for first-time buyers,” he said. “If they could build more starter homes, more apartments, they would sell, undoubtedly, because there is pent-up demand for anything under 325,000 euros,” or about $365,000.

Consequently, prices continue to rise at the lower end of the market, while at the upper end — homes priced over 500,000 euros ($560,000) — they are on the decline, he said.

Returning Irish expatriates, as well as British citizens and Europeans, make up the largest share of foreign buyers, Ms. Grant said.

The country’s Immigrant Investor Programme, introduced in 2012, grants visas to foreigners who invest at least 1 million euros ($1.12 million) in certain properties, funds or businesses. Applicants must have a minimum personal net worth of at least 2 million euros ($2.24 million), and their investment must be for a minimum of three years and may not be financed through a loan. The program has primarily attracted Chinese investors, many of them bringing their families to Ireland to live, Ms. Grant said.


CreditPaul O’Connell for The New York Times

Dublin is also experiencing an influx of real estate investment trusts buying up blocks of newly constructed apartments and putting them on the market to rent, Mr. Murgatroyd said. “People argue that that’s reducing supply for the owner-occupied market, but it’s also solving part of the accommodation crisis by providing long-term lets,” he said.

There are no restrictions on foreign buyers in Ireland.

Most buyers hire a lawyer to handle the transaction. Lawyers are responsible for researching the title and “assume the liability if there’s any issue going forward,” said David Colbert, a managing partner at Sheehan & Company Solicitors, in Dublin.

Buyers should have a structural survey done on a property before signing a contract, because sellers are not required to fix any problems that might arise. “If there’s an issue with the boiler or whatever, if the purchaser tries to impose that cost on the seller, they just won’t accept it,” Mr. Colbert said.


CreditPaul O’Connell for The New York Times

English, Irish Gaelic; euro (1 euro = $1.12)

Legal fees range widely, and there is no set scale, Mr. Colbert said.

The only other significant cost associated with buying property is stamp duty, calculated as 1 percent on the first million euros of the sales price, and 2 percent above that. The seller is responsible for paying the agent’s commission.

The annual property tax on this home is 3,362 euros ($3,770), Ms. Grant said.

Harriet Grant, Savills, 011-353-1-663-4300;

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Published at Wed, 24 Jul 2019 13:31:21 +0000