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Unread 17-09-2010, 22:23   #1
Colm Moore
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Default Luas & Property

Lots of mistakes in these. When will people stop believing estate agents and property journalists.

Can the Luas work its magic again?
12 September 2010 By Michelle Devane

The completion of the Luas Cherrywood extension is unlikely to result in a rise in property values, but it may mean increased interest in property around the extended route

After ten years in the making, the Luas green line extension to Cherrywood in Dublin’s southside will finally open next month. The Rail Procurement Agency (RPA) has confirmed that Luas B1 will open to passengers in October, possibly by the middle of the month, following successful testing of the line.

Nine new stops will be added south of Sandyford, bringing more southern suburbs within easy reach of the city centre for the public transport commuter. The journey time from St Stephen’s Green to the final stop in Bride’s Glen will be about 40 minutes. The trams will travel from Sandyford to Central Park, before going through The Gallops and Leopardstown Valley and then onto Carrickmines, Laughanstown, Cherrywood and Bride’s Glen.

It’s great news for the many people living along the route, many of whom drive to work because of the poor bus services in their areas. It means a huge improvement in accessibility for these areas, but what effect will it have on property values?

When the Luas green line first arrived in 2005, it led to a spike in house prices in areas along the route. Milltown, Ranelagh, Windy Arbour, Dundrum and Sandyford became easily accessible from the city centre and the Luas provided an escape from traffic jams for thousands of commuters. It boosted the profile of suburbs such as Clonskeagh and Dundrum - and agents reported a positive effect on price almost immediately.

Less than a week after the trams began running, the so called ‘Luas effect’ was prompting agents to predict that the area would enjoy a higher than average rate of capital appreciation that year than other parts of the capital.

High-profile housing developments - such as Mount Saint Anne’s, Wyckham Point, Rockfield and Southmeade - were all sold successfully on the back of the access to the Luas.

A similar effect of increased prices was witnessed with the arrival of the Luas red line in the same year – from Tallaght to Connolly Station via Belgard, Bluebell, Drimnagh, Inchicore, Heuston Station and Abbey Street.

Obviously, a similar spike in prices this time around is unlikely in the current market. However, once passengers start using the route, it will improve accessibility and will definitely make certain areas more attractive to buyers.

Large scale development has already taken place along the line from Central Park to Carrickmines, but planned housing and commercial development from Carrickmines onwards has failed to materialise. Despite this, the rail body has insisted that the extension will be a success.

The public private partnership project cost a total of €300million for an extra 7.5 kilometres of tram track on the green line.

Residents in and around Leopardstown, in particular, are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the extended line. In a matter of weeks, those living in the area will be able to hop on the Luas and be in town in about half an hour, rather than having to sit in traffic deadlock or depend on the bus.

So where will the ‘Luas effect’ be seen this time around? Park Developments’ The Gallops scheme in Leopardstown is a long-established residential development, extending from Murphystown Road to Ballyogan Road. It has always been a popular area - it’s in Dublin 18, close to Foxrock and Dundrum - but the scheme’s locat ion above the M50 was considered too far out of town by many buyers in the last few years.

Now, the residents of Glencairn and Orby – both of which are located in The Gallops - will be within walking distance of the Glencairn,The Gallops and Leopardstown Valley stops, as will the owners of the Mimosa and Levmoss apartments in the scheme.

Homeowners around Glenbourne, Ballyogan Avenue Drinagh Park and Leopardstown Abbey will be close to the Leopardstown Valley and Ballyogan Wood stops. The Kilgobbin Woods development off Ballyogan Road will benefit, as it will be within walking distance, and Stepaside schemes such as Belarmine, Aiken’s Village and Park View will be a short drive away.

Savills negotiator Greg Coffey has been handling sales in the area for some time. He has noticed a pick-up in sales in the area since the start of the year, the closer the Luas has come to completion.

Around €400,000 will get you a nicely-presented three-bedroom property in The Gallops. For example, last week 12 Orby Avenue, a three-bedroom semi-detached house with a south-facing garden, came on the market asking €410,000.

Savills Residential recently sold 48 Glencairn Crescent, a three-bedroom semi-detached with sun room extension to the rear. It was on the market at €400,000, and Coffey said it sold for over the asking price within a week. He said 13 Orby Avenue, a three-bedroom detached house, which was asking €450,000, also sold quickly in recent weeks. ‘‘Houses have been sold off-market to underbidders from the above sales," he said. ‘‘It’s a good development in a good location. The new Luas is helping a lot. It’s also close to the M50 and the new shopping centres at The Park and Leopardstown. Dundrum is a short drive away on the other side of the M50."

The majority of those interested in the houses are first-time buyers and young families trading up from apartment living to a house.

Despite the price of apartments in the area being slashed, the price of the houses has not been decimated. At the peak of the market, houses were selling in The Gallops for around the €600,000 mark. Now it’s back to around the €400,000 level.

In 2006, a three-bedroom semi in Glencairn Crescent was asking €720,000 and, in July 2007, a three-bed semi in Glencairn Thicket was sold for €675,000.

In comparison, three-beds were selling in 2005 for the late €400,000s - in the space of a year, the asking price had jumped from about €480,000 to €720,000. Now it has all been reversed.

According to Vincent Finnegan, managing director of selling agents Vincent Finnegan, the Luas will have a positive effect on the market, but not just yet. ‘‘People will not come knocking till it’s running. Once it’s in, then we’ll see some increase in activity - and perhaps prices. I certainly expect more activity. Either we’ll see an increase in activity or we’ll see that activity lead to a increase in prices or rents, but flat is the new up, so it’s good news."

The agency has 46 Orby Avenue on its books, which is attracting interest from young families. It’s a four-bedroom semi-detached house in good condition asking €500,000.

It’s not just the secondhand market that may be affected by the new route; the new homes market could also benefit. One local agent said it could help the rental side, but that he didn’t see that it could help to boost sales significantly. However, some first-time buyers prefer apartments, and many can’t get a mortgage to buy a house in the area. So it may aid the sale of some apartments.

Dwyer Nolan Developments’ Elmfield scheme of apartments on Ballyogan Road maybe one scheme to benefit. It has already sold a large number of units to first-time buyers in the past couple of years. One-bedroom apartments are now priced from €255,000, and two-beds from €295,000.

David Browne, HT Meagher O’Reilly New Homes director and selling agent for the Carrickmines Green development - close to The Park retail scheme in Carrickmines - said it had seen a steady number of sales throughout the summer at the scheme since prices were knocked down. One-beds are now priced from €135,000 and two-beds from €180,000.

‘‘When the units were on show, people were walking to the Luas to see exactly how long it would take. There’s two stops nearby - the Ballyogan Wood stop is the closest, then there’s the Carrickmines stop across the M50. It shows how important access to transport is to people."

The Carrickmines stop, which can be tricky to find, is located on Glenamuck Road, almost opposite Carrickmmines Tennis Club. The residents of developments such as Carrickmines Wood, as well as those living on Brighton Road and Brennanstown Road, are likely to benefit from the new route.

‘‘Ultimately, anything like a Luas can’t be bad for an area; if you’ve got a stop a couple of minutes’ walk from your house it can only be a good thing, especially if the bus service is poor," said Andrew Allen, director of property agency Allen & Jacobs, who has been negotiating sales in Leopardstown, Carrickmines and Cabinteely.

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Unread 17-09-2010, 22:24   #2
Colm Moore
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In complete contrast to Leopardstown and Carrickmines, the rest of the route further south is far less heavily developed.

A t Brennanstown and the Racecourse, further stops were planned, but are not coming into operation for the foreseeable future.

Although trams will stop at Laughanstown, this station is likely to be quiet. It is located at the end of Lehaunstown Road, a long,winding, remote road off Brenannstown Road.

It’s destined to service only a small handful of houses on road for the time being, and is about a 25-minute walk from Cabinteely village. It’s more likely that commuters from Cabinteely will be dropped by car to the stop.

Large-scale development was planned around the Cherrywood stop, but it never happened, for the most part. For the time being, it will be used by the residents of Tullyvale and Gleann Na R* developments, which will have a pedestrian path across the bridge to the stop. Second-hand two-bedroom apartments in the Tullyvale scheme are for sale for between €200,000 and €260,000, with three-beds on the market for about €335,000.

Two-bed apar tment s in Gleann na R* are on the market for about €270,000.

A spokesman for the RPA said that, in the case of the Cherrywood stop, development would follow infrastructure, rather than the other way around. ‘‘Certain developments were expected to be there, but they’re not - that’s Ireland in 2010. But we expect development will take place close to the line in the future," he said.

In the meantime, he said he expected that people from areas near Cherrywood - such as Louglinstown, Rathmichael, Shankill and Bray - would begin using the stop off Wyattville Road. However, the lack of a park and ride facility at Cherrywood - or any of the other stops on the extended line - might hinder this.

In contrast to the start of the green line at St Stephen’s Green, the terminus is located on Bride’s Glen Road, a quiet road in Rathmichael close to the Wicklow Mountains.

Location, location, location . . . the extended route and new stops

The route
From Sandyford, the track runs behind Woodies, over the Leopardstown roundabout to the Central Park scheme of apartments beside Bewley’s Hotel. Crossing the M50, its next stop is Glencairn, then it’s on to Ballyogan Road - where there’s three stops, The Gallops, Leopardstown Valley (beside the shops on Glenbourne Road) and Ballyogan Wood. It heads back over the M50 to the Carrickmines stop off Glenamuck Road, then on to Laughanstown and Cherrywood, before coming to an end at Bride’s Glen.

The stops
Central Park: on Leopardstown Road, beneath Vantage apartments, beside Bewley’s Hotel

Glencairn: on Murphystown Road, at the junction of Mount Eagle Park

The Gallops: on Ballyogan Road, at the junction of Glencairn Crsecent, opposite the Elmfield development

Leopardstown Valley: on Ballyogan Road, parallel to the shops on Glenbourne Road Ballyogan Wood: on Ballyogan Road, opposite Ballyogan Wood

Carrickmines: off Glenamuck Road, almost opposite Carrickmines Tennis Club, close to the M50

Laughanstown: on Lehaunstown Road, off Brennanstown Road

Cherrywood: on the Bray Road, off Wyattville Road, between the N11 and M50, beside Tullyvale and Gleann na R* developments

Bride’s Glen: on Bride’s Glen Road
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Unread 17-09-2010, 22:24   #3
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The response form the Irish Times

Will Luas extension lift south county prices?

Homeowners could once count on the Luas effect to boost values – but will the magic work when the Sandyford to Loughlinstown extension opens next month?

OCTOBER sees the opening of the Luas green line Cherrywood extension. Serving Glencairn, The Gallops, Leopardstown Valley, Ballyogan Wood, Carrickmines, Laughanstown, Cherrywood (in Loughlinstown) and Bride’s Glen, the seven-and-a-half kilometre tramline links the southwest suburbs with St Stephen’s Green in a journey time of 40 minutes – and at an approximate cost of €35 million per kilometre.

Can those at the end of the line expect to see a rise in their property prices?

It would be very naive to think prices will go up overnight. Stephen Day, negotiator at Lisney, St Stephen’s Green has managed the sale of apartments at Tullyvale, beside Cherrywood, one of the new stops. He says they were “very slow to sell”.

“The Luas will make properties more saleable, but right now price is 98 per cent of the selling equation. Price is everything.”

A working paper compiled by the ESRI in November 2008 analysed the value of rail transport to homeowners in the greater Dublin area. Its findings may temporarily lift hearts.

It stated that homeowners within 500 metres of a green line station in zone 2 (from Charlemont to Windy Arbour), purchased at or after the Luas opening date, would command a premium of 12 per cent. In zone 3, from Dundrum out, this premium rises to 17 per cent. Good news for the 90,000 people living within a catchment area of one kilometre of the existing track.

But that paper was based on house price figures compiled between 2001 and 2006. “In terms of house price premiums, 17 per cent is worth much less now than it was in November 2008,” says Richard S J Tol, research professor at ESRI and one of the paper’s authors.

The paper is more a general indication that people will pay a premium to live near the Luas, an ESRI report spokesperson concludes.

So does this apply to the new extension? Will it add a premium to property prices? Ronan Lyons, chief economist at Daft.ie, is exploring the ESRI’s figures and comparing them with Daft’s own asking prices. “From preliminary research there is a positive effect of 8-10 per cent on properties at existing stops within one kilometre of the green line,” he says.

This spike in prices is apparent on houses along the Luas green line only. Lyons’ research suggests that there may be a penalty for being too near, or on top of, one of the new red line Luas stops. “Many apartment blocks are on top of stations or at major junctions, which homeowners may prefer not to live next to.”

Not good news, then, for homeowners living near next year’s red line extension to Saggart.

Lyons explains: “The green line is in established areas and a bonus to houses already there, whereas a lot of the red line is in new areas.”

There are already 146,000 people living within a kilometre of the existing red line.

David Lewis, of Sherry FitzGerald Lewis Beirne, is more equivocal about the effect of the red line extension.

“In normal market conditions I’d say yes, proximity to the Luas does affect the price of a property but these are not normal conditions.

“Prices in Dundrum and Stillorgan were positively affected by the opening of the Luas in 2004 but that was in a rising market. Prices should go up before the Luas has arrived, not after. The extension is a distance of three miles and it will sell and help rentals – to what extent, percentagewise, I simply don’t know.”

Being on top of the Luas, however, is a negative selling factor on both lines. Stephen Day of Lisney had an apartment on his books that was too close to the Dundrum stop on the Luas green line. The property failed to sell.

Even if prices do go up, some homeowners living along the green line extension will not benefit. Brennanstown, a stop originally proposed, between Carrickmines and Laughanstown, is not opening in October.

“The lack of development means we’re not in a position to open the stop,” says Ger Hannon, director of corporate services at the Railway Procurement Agency. “Homeowners living there will lose out,” says David Browne of HT Meagher O’Reilly.

Elsewhere along the line the Luas extension is driving interest, if not prices. Browne has sold half-price apartments in Carrickmines Green on Glenamuck Road in Dublin 18, close to one of the new stops.

“The Luas extension has been a big factor for most of our buyers but the properties were also down 55 per cent from their original off-plan prices. Demand was incredible. There was a 1,000 per cent increase in viewings.” Browne took 83 deposits on the launch weekend and says “All prospective buyers walked the estimated 800 metres down to the bottom of the hill to determine the property’s distance from the light rail station.”

He also cites the example of three-bedroom semis in The Gallops, Leopardstown. “We haven’t seen an upturn in capital appreciation but the properties are selling more quickly,” says Browne.

On the green line, the Luas has created a “ripple effect” in terms of the value of properties less than a 15-minute walk to their nearest station, says Geralyn Byrne of Sherry FitzGerald in Terenure. This has negatively affected lesswell-connected parts of Clonskeagh and Goatstown, and the M50 side of Ballinteer.

Pat Mullery of DNG agrees that a property within a 10-minute walk of a Luas station would command a premium. “The Luas has more to offer someone living in Stepaside than in Ranelagh, from where they can walk into town. The bigger impact on house prices will be seen further out the line. I would estimate it to be in the order of five to 10 per cent.”

Buyers are beginning to explore areas outside their historical comfort zones, says Anne Rafferty of Sherry FitzGerald Dundrum. “Sandyford and Leopardstown may not have the same selection of well-established schools as other areas but the tramline opens up some of south county Dublin’s best private schools to a wider catchment area.” She has sold to parents who use the park and ride facilities at Sandyford to deliver their St Mary’s or Gonzaga-going children to the Luas.

Good transport links are a strong selling point. A first-time buyer who has just bought a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment costing €190,000 in Carrickmines Green claims location and price were crucial factors. “I’d estimate that proximity to the Luas accounted for 30 per cent of my decision,” she explains.

“Househunters have a wish list,” says Day. Accessibility and orientation are critical. Amenities are crucial, adds Weston Desmond, negotiator at Sherry FitzGerald in Dún Laoghaire.

“Good transport links are a strong selling point. A 12-minute walk is the deal breaker. Anything more than that is not a preferred option for househunters.”

In this market it’s really about saleability rather than price, says Rafferty. “If the property has a broader appeal it will get more people into the house and you have a better chance of selling.”
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