23 September 2014

Return of the £1 million house: Sale of two homes at double asking price a sign of Northern Ireland


It’s the return of the £1m house. The Belfast Telegraph can reveal that the sales of two period houses for more than £1m each were agreed in the past week – and both went for at least double the asking price.

After months in which analysts claimed that the house price recovery would not be felt until the ‘des res’ homes at the top of the market were selling, it seems Northern Ireland’s dearest houses are now being snapped up.

In Edenderry, close to Lisburn, historic Edenderry House has been sold by estate agent Fred Dalzell for around £1.1m after initially going on the market at £485,000.

And Summer Hill, a repossessed four-bedroom property at Mount Pleasant in Stranmillis, south Belfast, also fetched just over £1.15m – again, twice its initial purchase price – after it was marketed by the agents Simon Brien Residential.

Edenderry House is set in around 30 acres, while Summer Hill has around 0.75 acres. Both properties require renovation. Summer Hill dates back to 1855, but the history of Edenderry House goes back to 1642. It was the home to generations of the Dunlop family, but the property was put on the market after the death of the last surviving member of that clan.

Ciara Crawford, associate director at Simon Brien, said the listing of Summer Hill had prompted 200 viewings.

“We then had about 20 parties declaring an interest, though not all of them made a formal offer,” she added.

“Ultimately, we received an offer of £1.4m, but the buyer then changed their mind, so the under-bidder got the house at £1.15m.”

She would not reveal the circumstances of the buyer, but said the slow recovery of the housing market – starting with a pick-up in the sale of low-priced homes to first-time buyers and investors around a year ago – had resulted in strong interest at the top-end of the market.

“There is massive pent-up demand for good quality housing in established areas such as BT9, especially among families who weren’t negatively affected by the property crash,” the estate agent told the Belfast Telegraph.

Many potential buyers had viewed both Summer Hill and Edenderry House, she said.

Lisburn agent Mr Dalzell, who secured the sale in Edenderry, was not available for comment.

But south Belfast estate agent Gerry O’Connor, of GOC Estate Agents, claimed that he had noticed a pick-up in demand in south Belfast for detached and semi-detached houses, particularly in the Malone area.

“We are selling houses for sums such as £700,000 or £800,000, homes which would have been sitting on the market around two or three years ago,” he said.

Mr O’Connor added he had recently sold another £1m house.

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