An eighth of an Irish chateau could be better than nothing
Julian Knight weighs the pros and cons of fractional ownership of a luxury estate on a golf course near Dublin
Sunday 20 June 2010
How about buying a property in Ireland? Yes you read that right, Ireland, the country which has suffered some of the biggest price falls in the global property crash. Ireland where one in five homes is vacant – compared with one in 32 in the UK – where hundreds of new-build estates are empty, good only for the bulldozer. Ireland – the decrepit and emasculated Celtic tiger economy.
But even in the darkest of economic times – and Ireland's recession makes the UK's look like a walk in the park – there are some properties and locations that stand out as offering a little bit of, well, the extraordinary. "The key in recessionary times like these is to have a proposition which stands out, which appeals to people not just from Ireland or the UK, but globally," said Alan Cornelius, sales director at Firstlight international. Firstlight is offering properties for sale on the K Club estate, 30 minutes from Dublin.
Housed in a 18th-century chateau, the K Club is Ireland's premier sporting destination offering a range of country activities such as fishing, shooting and horse riding as well as a luxurious spa and fine dining. But it's golf for which the K Club is most famous. It has two courses, the Smurfit and Palmer (the latter designed by Arnold Palmer), and had the distinction of hosting the 2006 Ryder Cup when the European team triumphed over the US to emotional scenes and more than the odd pint of the black stuff being downed.
"The difficulties in the Irish property market have given us the chance to offer something unique, one of the top golf destinations in the world," Mr Cornelius said. But housing crash or no housing crash, property at the K Club is still very expensive – think central London or Kensington and you're in the right ball park. However, Firstlight's offer is not a straight property sale but the option to purchase a fraction. In essence, buyers can purchase an eighth share of any in a range of properties at the K Club, from two-bed apartments up to four-bed houses. All have spectacular course views, are fully furnished to very high standards and, crucially, family membership of the golf club and spa is included while in residence. "Membership of the club alone costs an €80,000 (£67,000)fee and an annual subscription of nearly €8,000. For a couple this rises to €120,000 joining and nearly €16,000 per year. If you buy a fractional share in a property through Firstlight, membership is thrown in. We think that makes the whole package exceptional value," said Mr Cornelius.
One-eighth shares start at €160,000 for the smallest two-bed apartment (measuring a still sizeable 1,500 sq ft) up to €325,000 for a 3,800 sq ft four-bed house. A one-eighth share entitles owners to a maximum six weeks' residence a year for life, with golf/spa membership during their stay. If residents tire of golf they can exchange their weeks with other Firstlight developments around the globe, such as ski accommodation in the exclusive Aspen resort or Noosa on Queensland's Gold Coast. Buyers could also choose to rent out their home privately and could expect a return on the larger properties of several thousand euros a week from golfing nuts wanting to play on the course that Arnold built. The fraction can also be resold or willed to a loved one.
However, fractional ownership, which really took off as a concept at the tail-end of the last property boom, has its detractors. They suggest that it is in effect just tarted-up timeshare. What's more, as the boom turned to bust, some people who invested in fractional ownership found that what they had bought wasn't as glossy as the marketing literature promised. "A couple of years ago there were all sorts of fractional ownership developments bobbing around. Some offered to rent out property for you and give you guaranteed income but some of the properties and the promises weren't as described," said Andrew Montlake from mortgage broker Coreco. "However, as with most things property related there has been a clearing of the decks during the downturn with the cowboys run out of business; what we see now is a focus on quality."
This is view echoed by Darren Ettridge, vice-president of resort sales from holiday property exchange company Interval International. "Fractional ownership following the global recession makes more sense," he said "Developers sell easier because it's a smaller outlay, whereas consumers get residence rights which are more in tune with their actual usage periods."
But can they be classed as an investment? Mr Ettridge says buyers should tread carefully. "If you look to buy a fraction of a property as an investment, to make money, then you really have to be careful," he said. "What is the resale market, and if you rent it out, what are the likely returns? Overall, it's best buying for leisure and lifestyle and if you make a little money, then all the better."
Nevertheless, Mr Montlake says that lenders still steer clear of fractional ownership. "They will do every-day arrangements such as shared ownership through a housing association for someone trying to get on the housing ladder, but for someone trying to buy a share of a property in a luxury location, then it's no dice.
"The problem is that lenders always need to have easy access to their collateral and you can't get that if they a lending against an eighth share of a property, for instance." If you're not a cash buyer then one option is to remortgage your UK property to raise a sufficient sum, but this is an unlikely way for most to finance a fractional purchase.
First light International (+353 1-6107 111, firstlightkclub.com)
Independent Partners: Get fee-free expert mortgage advice and find the right mortgage deal for you.
Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando
First full-length look is finally here
Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star
Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...
Day In a Page
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village