Eleven land deals generate over €63m in third quarter

Activity increased compared to second quarter

The Magic Carpet pub in Cornelscourt, Dublin

Donal Buckley

AS many as 11 land sales were completed between July and September this year with a combined value totalling almost €64m between them, according to figures compiled by property consultants CBRE Ireland.

This is a very significant increase on the previous quarter although the overall volume of transactional activity in the year-to-date has been severely impacted by Covid-19 and the economic backdrop.

Over the year to end September the value of deals totalled almost €185m, compared to €767m worth of deals at the same point in 2019.

Colin Richardson, senior analyst at CBRE said: “While there was a clear pick-up in activity in Q3, the level of transactions in the development land market remains well behind traditional levels, as stakeholders focus on building out their current development pipeline as opposed to acquiring additional land.”

Average quarterly transaction levels in the market over the last five years has been about €240m per quarter.

“A feature of the current market has been the activity of tier one developers like Ballymore and Cairn.

“Less well established developers who are relying on debt funding are less active and likely finding debt terms challenging,” Mr Richardson said.

The largest deal in the quarter was Ballymore’s purchase of the 52.6-acre Harbour Point site overlooking the sea and River Dargle in Bray. This sale had been agreed towards the end of 2019 when it was reported in this newspaper.

Savills had been quoting €27.5m for it on behalf of a receiver at Deloitte.

Previously owned by the Pizarro Developments consortium, led by Paddy Kelly, it had planning permission for a 58,000 sq m retail centre, 950 apartments, a cinema complex, bars, restaurants, hotel and offices.

Another large purchase saw Cairn Homes buy the Esmonde motor site in Stillorgan from Emerald Fund Icav, controlled by Alan McIntosh, a non-executive Cairns director for €14m.

Meanwhile, an established Irish developer purchased the Magic Carpet pub in Cornelscourt in south Dublin.

Agents Lisney Morrissey had been quoting €12m for the 2.7-acre property which was sold by the Crowley family.

The site has potential for 74 homes and 1,000 sq m of commercial space.

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