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Is Douglas the best place to live in County Cork?

Douglas City Cork

17 Feb 2017

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Douglas is a real hot-spot for Cork home buyers and was one of the first places to see house prices rise after the slump. One of the main reasons for its popularity is that Douglas is close to both the city and the country. Geographically Douglas has one foot in Cork city and the other in County Cork. It even has a couple of celebs to its name, with actor Cillian Murphy and rugby legend Ronan O'Gara hailing from there* (Although O'Gara was actually born in San Diego, California!).

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At the core, Douglas is a very traditional 'village' community which was linked to the city centre in the mid-1900s by the on-ward march of suburbanisation. Thousands of houses were built over five decades and more.

Lots of attractions in Douglas

That core of Douglas is now home to 20,000 people, two large shopping centres with lots of parking, a top weekend farmer's market much loved by Munster Rugby WAGs as well as a good spread of restaurants, bars, schools, a swimming pool, a library, a range of sports facilities and more.
Douglas is served by several bus routes to the city, and it's even close enough to walk to 'town' from the 'village.' (Some days, the traffic congestion on the outlying hills makes walking preferable).

EBS_Cork_Transport_information

Douglas has had half a century – nay, 70 years – of suburban building, estates, and infill so as you can imagine, the gaps in the small distance back to the city kind of got filled in.

The local market knows its mind: there are hierarchies. But if you are new to Cork, you may not be too bothered parsing locations. If you like it and can afford it, that's all that matters.

In the past two 'recent' decades, that suburbanizing sprawl has continued, up and over the hills to the east, and to the south, so that now areas like Rochestown, Grange, Frankfield and (closer to the city) Ballinlough fall almost unquestionably into Douglas' ambit.

Douglas a top home location in Cork

Along with Bishopstown to the west of the city, and Blackrock by the river, Douglas is one of the top handful of 'des-res' locations in suburban Cork with a reasonable housing spread and mix.

When the Cork property market began its clear recovery around 2013, after the post-2007/08 slump, it was among the very first areas to show resurgent confidence, healthy demand, and early price rises, and as a consequence competitive bidding.

Values have probably increased ahead of city averages, by 15% pa, in the last couple of years – they did fall to a very low base in the crash.

Douglas prices are in pick-up mode: the National Property Price Register clusters most family home sales in the €200/300,000 bracket. The better trading-up homes are €400,000 plus, and less than ten individual sales topped €500k in 2014. One came just shy of €1m.

Back at market peak, an Edwardian semi on the Douglas road made around €2m, and a couple of large homes on acres of gardens on the Rochestown Road fetched €4m a pop.

Now, one of the city's very best suburban homes, the fully refurbished Ellerslie on the Well Road (think Dublin's Shrewsbury or Ailesbury Roads for comparison), carries a €2.25m price guide with Savills.

EBS Douglas assisting home buyers

Right now it's hard to find much to buy within a more average price range: both Myhome.ie and Daft.ie list only about 100 Douglas homes each, but broaden your search to immediately outlying areas and that doubles, or trebles.

Local Douglas EBS LTD branch manager Robert O'Dwyer points out "the problem is there's no supply, and nothing being built. Anything good that comes along is nearly gone in three or four weeks, after lots of bidding."

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Mr O'Dwyer reckons that first time buyers coming into his office generally have budgets in the €170,000 to €230,000 range: that means many are buying new homes outside Douglas, as far away he says as Carrigaline, Lehenaghmore in Togher or Midleton/Carrigtowhill via the tunnel.

They're also buying do-er uppers in Douglas/Ballinlough/Blackrock and Beaumont, and are making allowances for future and further spending.

Here's a quick snapshot of the housing market in Douglas

Most prestigious addresses

Main Douglas Road, Well Road, 'old' estates of Knockrea, Woolhara and Endsleigh, Rochestown Road. Plus ca change: it was the same 20, even 50 years ago.

Most up-and-coming addresses

Inner Douglas, between village and city centre. Why? You get to skip the ring road traffic snarls, you can walk to the city for a night out (or taxis home are cheaper), and there's long-established schools.

Home buyers bargains

Off South Douglas Road, around the old 'west' village, and into Ballinlough/Beaumont.

Best for commuting

Inner Douglas, between the village and the city. Cycle lanes are slowly expanding and there's a bus service. If you work off-peak, there's no real problem, though the tunnel downriver at Mahon can be problematic.

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Best for families

Inner Douglas is best for a short commute and more time at home. Frankfield or Mount Oval/Garryduff in Rochestown both have modern primary schools.

Thinking of buying a house in Cork?

Before you go house hunting it's a good idea to get your mortgage arranged – or at least discussed so you know where you stand.

If you'd like to talk through your mortgage options you can book a 30 Minute Mortgage Meeting with Jerry or one of the team in your local EBS office, 1 East Village, Douglas, Co Cork (Tel: 021 - 4369612/3). You can also use our mortgage calculator or find out more by checking out our First Time Buyer or Next Time Buyer Guides.

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Why not pay us a visit on our Facebook page for more great house-hunting tips, home living advice, or just for some general merriment?

The content of this blog is expressed in broad terms and is limited to general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice to address issues arising in specific contexts and not seek to rely on the information in this blog which does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by EBS d.a.c.

EBS d.a.c. neither accepts nor assumes any responsibility in relation to the contents of this blog and excludes all warranties, undertakings and representations (either express or implied) to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law.

*If we mention celebrities, we're not saying they love us. They secretly might, but it doesn't mean they endorse us.

House Prices taken from MyHome.ie accessed March 2015.
JJH Financial Services Limited trading as EBS Douglas is a tied mortgage agent acting solely on behalf of EBS d.a.c. EBS d.a.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

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