By Conor Power
Next Thursday, January 25, should see a lively turnout at the Midleton Park Hotel for the public auction of a prime 55-acre holding close to this vibrant in east Cork town.
The man with the gavel will be Éamonn O’Brien of CCM Property Network.
It augurs well for the outcome of the sale that the last time he auctioned a piece of land on the outskirts of Midleton, the result was a strong one: 135 acres of land just outside Midleton were sold at auction for a figure of some €17,000/acre.
On that occasion, the interests were varied, emanating from the commercial and the equestrian sectors as much as from the tillage and dairying sectors. Nest week, there will most likely be a mixture of interested parties too, but it may not be quite the explosive cocktail that drove the earlier price to €17,000/acre.
“The farm is for sale as the owner is retiring,” explains Éamonn, “and he would like to see it purchased and farmed, as opposed to renting it out.”
According to the selling agent, there’s a good level of interest in the farm, which he describes as a quality grass-and-tillage holding, currently in grass, which benefits from a Basic Payment of €9,500. This is, the auctioneer says, a generous payment for the amount of land involved.
“It can be broken up into lots,” points out Éamonn. “The house with 10 acres, and then an additional 45 acres, for example.” He auctioneer has already strong interest in the house with its smaller curtilage: “I’ve had three different proposals,” says Éamonn.
“The thing about that is, unless there’s also a proposal for the balance of the land, we’re not going to sell it off piecemeal, and be left with a bit of it for the auction. We’re lined up for the auction on the 25th but it’s good to see that there is that level of interest there at the moment.”
As for the land itself, this is a top-quality holding that can be worked virtually all year around: “It’s the kind of land that, in the current market, could make up around €300/acre if it was to be leased out.” This, says Éamonn, represents opportunity from a simple investment point of view, with the possibility of a return on investment in the region of 10%, without counting the potential rental income of the farmhouse.
“The farm is one that you can farm for 11 months of the year. You can use it for grass, it has good fattening qualities, and it could be a good tillage farm too.”
The farm is described as having been in the same family for generations.
It is located in the townland of Gurtacrue, about 10 minutes from Midleton’s town centre. It’s 25km from Cork City, just under 4km from Midleton and 17km from Little Island.
As for price expectation, there seems to be no danger of this auctioneer putting his foot too far forward: “My expectation when I looked at it initially was very basic. If one got €10,000/acre for the land and €100,000 for the house, it would give €650,000 in total, or just shy of €11,800 per acre for the entire holding.
“With the market the way it is, and with the auction, you just don’t know…
“It has the potential to go much higher.
“The €650,000 may well end up being a very conservative figure, but it also could be more like €700,000.
“We’re not going in there with overkill looking for extraordinary money. It’s a farm that has stood to its family well. Ideally, they would like to see the next owner continuing to use it as part of a farming enterprise. At the same time, they would like to see the house being lived in.”