Apartment Purchase

Hi all,

I am currently considering buying a 1 bedroom apartment very near the grand canal. The apartment is in a Medium sized development around 25 years old. The main features of the apartment are:

  • 46 Square Metres floor area
  • separate kitchen with door (not kitchenette)
  • Top floor
  • Ample secure parking with electric gates.
  • Storage heating but with gas available. Also open fire place with proper chimney.

Noise pollution would not be an issue as the development is really quiet (I have visited it several times before) and the apartment itself is located on the corner of the building (2 walls) with another wall bordering the stairwell. The only wall where there are neighbours is the kitchen wall (and it is the neighbours kitchen that is behind that wall). There are no neighbours behind any of the bedroom walls. All the internal walls appear to be concrete block and are very solid. Floors are concrete slabs, not floor borads. There are Circa 60% owner occupiers in the deveopment.

Management fees are €1,100 per annum and other 1 bed apartments in the development currently rent for €750-€800 per month.

The current owner was looking for €150,000 initially but will now sell for €120,000. I don’t think I can get it much lower than that.

Based on the prices achieved at the Alsops auction last friday for 1 beds on Cork St and IFSC, this price seems a little on the high side. However, I am seriously considering buying as this apartment has ample parking, is very quiet, in a reasonably good area and close to town.

I have been living in Dublin for 12 years now and have always lived in apartments. I’m in my current one bed (renting) for over 5 years now. Should I buy this one, I plan on living there for the forseeable future and will probably rent it out after that. In terms of the rental market, Griffith college, Portobello college and Rathmines collage are all nearby. Also plenty of young professionals seem to rent near here.

What do you think? Does €120k sound reasonable for this? Thanks.

NAMA are under pressure from the IMF/ECB to start selling, so hold on a few weeks.

Thanks for that. I saw something about that in the paper yesterday, saying something like 10,000 apartments accross the country might be coming on the market this year. I am wondering if a lot of these will be Liam Carroll and similar apartments in the city centre. I am looking for something in the Donnybrook/Ranelagh/Rathmines/Harolds cross area. Anyone know if there are any NAMA apartments in these areas?

Btw I had a look at those Elm Park apartments a while back as I was thinking of trying for one of these. They are really nice inside but look horrific on the oudside. That untreated timber cladding is becoming really discoloured/green.

If Morgan’s (peace be upon him) prophecy is to come true then prices will drop a further 50% on top of the 50% or so they seem to have already dropped. Apartments will suffer more than most in this carnage, so I’d expect you could get the same gaff for €70k or less if you can wait another year or so. The vendor ought to know this too and so you’d expect them to drop down below the ton if you can’t wait. It’s a buyers market, unless the vendor doesn’t really need to sell. In which case you should keep your powder dry and look elsewhere.

Whether there are NAMA apartments coming on-stream in the area is not relevant. Much like the rising tide that lifts all ships, the falling tide drops them all on the rocks with varying degrees of violence. You may not think the price of apartments in Dublin 7 or 15 or any other postcode are particularly relevant to you, but they are very relevant indeed.

I would not expect a very positive response to the purchase of a one bed round here. Especially not for 100k+. Also, it is a small apartment. I’m not sure how much space a one bed needs to be for a single person, having never lived alone. My current one bed house of 69 m2 feels a nice size for me and my other half. You are the only one who can judge if it suits you or not. But I would be in no rush to buy now. The price of everything will fall further.

Let’s face it no-one in their right mind leaves good timber outside in Ireland even if stored vertically. They were probably stored inside or sealed while on site prior to installation. That TCD drama building has a lot to answer for.

My friend’s one-bed (over 100k in negative equity, she thinks :open_mouth: ) is 55sq.m. I don’t think you’d want to be going much smaller than that.

I’m assuming teh OP’s property is in boyne court (the price quoted suggested it, I’ve seen a couple in that bracket come on there, and Gandon Close apts are much smaller) - it’s a good, handy location. I’d wonder if Rathmines Square might appear on the market next year tho… they seem to be nice apartments. For apartments.

I had a 50 sq. metre apartment that I managed to sell. It wasn’t big enough to live in for one person really, I wouldn’t recommend buying one. Particularly if your life changes in any way with relationships/family/downward spiral of economy necessitating flight.

It doesn’t seem awful value. Assuming a €20k deposit, you’re looking at a mortgage of €100k. Spreading that over 25 years, repayments at today’s rate will be about €530 a month. If you stress test the mortgage to 8% - repayments go to €770 a month - which is till fairly manageable.

As AWFAA notes:
“Let’s face it no-one in their right mind leaves good timber outside in Ireland even if stored vertically. They were probably stored inside or sealed while on site prior to installation. That TCD drama building has a lot to answer for”
I have never, never understood the attraction of timber cladding in our climate - right from the beginning of the blight about 15 years ago I could not buy the ‘natural finish’ argument.
All are now manky looking and mouldering away - grey and jaded looking within a year.
The locations of some of this panelling, especially in Elm Park where black fungus seems to be creeping up the boarded sections, means that they can never be accessed, yet alone safely repaired or re-coated.
My only relevant advice (keeping to topic) would be to never buy any place that is even part timber panelled - including the ridiculous looking half timbered windows one sees in some apartments - the rot will eventually get its way and God knows what sort of repair/replacment costs are lurking down the line.

Especially for 1-bed appartments which are in much less demand than 2-beds. And if your circumstances change, you won’t sell it for what you bought it for.

Seeing as the apartment is on the top floor - is there a lift? I’ve seen some apartment blocks of this age with no lifts. If there is no lift system in place (requiring ongoing maintenance), I would consider a management fee of 1,100 to be a bit on the high side. What are you getting for that management fee?

In terms of price, I agree with other posters that you should be getting this for less than 120k and probably for less than 100k.

You may as well just party your ass off for a couple of years abroad (spend 10/20k on drink/drugs/sex), come back with nothing and you’ll still be better off. Or just rake a few grand up into a pile and burn it: same result.

Thanks for all the comments. Re the size, I am not overly worried about the fact that it is only 45 Square Metres from my own perspective living in it as I have lived in a 36 metre square apartment for over 5 years now. However, I take your points that a lot of people might not want to live in a 46 square metre apartment and so this would make it more difficult to sell in the future, to anyone other than maybe a single person on their own.

Re the lift, there is none. This apartment is top floor but it is only a two floor building so its not really an issue. The management fee covers general building insurance (not contents), refuse collection and grounds maintenance. It is a little steep alright. Having looked at a lot of similar apartments in recent weeks I have seen some as low as €700 and some as high as €1,900 so on that scale it’s not too bad. The main redeeming factors are the convenient location, the attic which would be ideal for storage and the fact that the general area, and the specific apartment, is so quiet. Anyway, I will probably hold off on this for a while and see if it sells or goes off the market, and then maybe come back in with another offer .