I was speaking to one of the estate agents up there last week. The builders are "two young guys" from Wexford, apparently they are backed by a private investor. They bought the land from RBS and have made minor adjustments to the original plans approved by the previous developer, one of the main things is they now don't plan to build any apartment, it will be houses only.
There will be about 100 houses in total, with the next batch of houses to be released at the end of September. It's not expected that there will be any major changes to the layouts. As mentioned above they are leasehold, however the owner is responsible for the upkeep of all everything within their boundary, i.e. you need to maintain the little flower bed in front of your house as well as the exterior.
On the houses themselves, i was shocked at them, there isn't one house that I thought was well planned, except maybe the 2 bed which seemed the right sizes for a two bed house.
The three bed had the best downstairs, however there is no room for a kitchen table, and I'm not sure how suitable the island in the kitchen would be for eating dinner at. The living room was a good size, as long as you don't try to wedge a kitchen table into it. Upstairs the bedrooms were all too small, only having room for a bed and very little else and the bathroom was a joke, once one person was in there is was full, i'd imagine drying yourself after a shower/bath would be a challenge.
The four bed had the opposite problems to the three bed, downstairs was laughable, the kitchen couldn't take a table, even though the show house had one wedged into the corner, but only three people could sit at it. the oven door then opened directly onto the table which isn't idle. The living room was an OK size but not huge. The bedrooms upstairs was fine however there was no storage room anywhere.
Like the four beds the 3/4 bed was a joke downstairs, a tiny little living room and small kitchen, it would seriously help from having the area behind the carport extended into. Upstairs was imo the best of them all, but the downstairs living space was so bad nothing upstairs could help this layout, and it's no surprise none of these have been reserved yet. If the builders don't alter these layouts for the next phases they'd be foolish.
My wife was down at them yesterday and all 2 and 3 beds (with the exception of the 3 bed show house) are gone, 3 fours beds are reserved and none of the 3/4 were gone which isn't surprising giving the size of their downstairs. I sometimes wonder do these so called professional builds think of their target market when designing a house, rather than how many units can we squeeze in, a little more space downstairs in all house is all that is needed, well except the 3 bed which needs a bit more upstairs.
Stepaside is nice and relatively well located, but where Belmont is located has its issues, getting out will become tough in the mornings, the Enniskerry Road is already busy in the mornings, with the school almost directly across the road, the position of the exit is ridiculous with that steep hill, they'd have been better off flatting out the immediate bit of road at the lights and having the steep hill a bit further back, but that ship has sailed. There is still a lot of land in the Aikens Village/Belmont/Belarmyne area so the demand on that exit could be substantial in a few years. There is also plans to put a halting site into the green area on the right as you drive off the Enisskerry Road, however that may not happen. Even without any more apartments being built in the area is has become very over developed without the infrastructure put in place to cope with the demand.