Local Liaison Officer
Join Date: Dec 2006
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.