115 Philomena Terrace, Ringsend, by Alanna Gallagher

The Irish Times, Thursday, October 6th 2016 

Stella Gardens is a warren of one- and two-storey artisan cottages with several blocks of corporation flats at its heart. Property prices began to rise here during the early noughties before tech giants such as Facebook and LinkedIn had even been conceived much less had headquarters in a part of Dublin now known as Googletown.

At the time many people mounted the property ladder as singletons, coupled up and had their first child and planned to trade up but found themselves in negative equity instead.

Number 115 is a two-storey terraced house bought by its owner at the very top of the market, when she paid €595,000 for the 75sq m (812sq ft) property.

Light-filled rooms

Compared to many of the single-storey properties in this area it had a lot going for it – light-filled and rooms with good ceiling heights.

The owner worked nearby, and had a friend move in which helped with the mortgage by availing of the Rent a Room scheme to contribute up to €10,000 per annum tax free to mortgage payments which were double that. Following the crash, values in the area fell to half the price she had paid. Normal life continued and marriage and two children ensued.

Nine years on, the family needs a bigger house. With an asking price of €400,000 through agent Owen Reilly, the owner, like many young homeowners, faces negative equity. “I’ve had four or five years to come to terms with it,” she says, reasoning that an average rental of €2,000 per month for the past nine years would have cost her €215,000 and she would “have nothing to show for it”.

“I bought the house at a different time in my life but the needs of family life are different. I now need to be close to schools and crèches. My priorities have changed.” She says she can’t put her life on hold any longer.

Faced with a potential €200,000 loss on the original investment it will be a struggle, but this time around there are two people contributing to the mortgage, she says, and she’s spent the time since she got married in 2011 saving for a deposit for a new house.

Sandstone paving

Number 115 has a decent-sized sittingroom with a large open fire, scorched in a good way by use. A door leads through to an eat-in kitchen which overlooks the backyard, big enough for a table that will comfortably take six, and paved in sandstone slabs. There is pedestrian rear access – a real plus for taking the bins out.

Upstairs are two double bedrooms, one to the front and the main bedroom to the rear.

The Irish Times, Thursday, October 6th 2016 

To see the article on-line, please click here.