Thursday 22 March 2018

€500m in property sold at bumper auctions in 2017

Guiding at €2.9m, this 0.62 acre site in Foxrock has full planning permission for 20 apartments
Guiding at €2.9m, this 0.62 acre site in Foxrock has full planning permission for 20 apartments

Donal Buckley

In the scramble by banks and receivers to get properties off their books before the end of the year, as many as seven bumper auctions will take place over the next eight days with as many as 370 lots on offer worth a combined €70.6m.

These sales could bring to more than 2,600 the number of properties sold at auctions alone this year generating up to €500m.

Confounding expectations that cash buyers might have depleted their war chests over the last four years, the three months since the start of last September have shown a pick up, not alone in the volume of sales, but even more so in the value. This period accounted for 38pc of lots sold and 42pc of the turnover generated during the last 11 months.

Furthermore in contrast with the prime market where the value of sales is expected to fall to less than half last year's levels, auctions look set to exceed last year's sales values.

The next public auction will take place this evening while next week will see two days of BidX1 auctions, two Real Estate Alliance (REA) auctions, one by Sherry FitzGerald and another from O'Donnellan and Joyce.

This evening, auctioneering platform I-Am Sold will offer 24 Leinster commercial and residential properties with guide prices totalling €3.76m. Already this year I-Am has sold 254 lots worth a combined €51.75m. So this evening's auction should put its sales well ahead of the whole of last year when 242 lots achieved €42.3m in total.

After Brexit and the softening of sterling, director Patrick Folan noticed a drop off in UK-based buyers last winter but these buyers have returned since the summer albeit at much lower volumes.

"Enquiry levels are down year on year, however the numbers of bids per property is up - cash buyers are still accounting for about 60pc of sales," he adds.

The agency plans 15 public bumper auctions for 2018 in addition to its online auctions.

Already this year the BidX1 team has sold 1,083 lots worth a combined €218m and it expects its December auctions could generate a further €50m worth of sales and boost this year's total to €255m. That suggests an increase of almost 20pc on the €215m generated from sales of 1,235 properties last year.

Director Jonathan Fenn, says that one of the strongest trends was the increased number of lots valued at more than €1m.

"Last year six lots in the million euro plus band were sold whereas this year, 24 of the lots sold so far were in this category. We see this as a sign of both a buoyant market with a depth of bidders at these lot sizes, but also a growing confidence that selling via the online trading platform will provide timeline-certainty and greater market exposure," he adds.

Next Wednesday and Thursday, BidX1 will auction more than 200 lots including about 20 sites in Dublin, Cork and elsewhere with guide prices ranging up to around €3m.

Among them is a 0.62 acre site in Foxrock with full planning permission for 20 apartments. It has a €2.9m guide price which is practically a 40pc discount to the €4.75m paid for it in 2007 when the Loreto nuns sold it to developers Barry Meagher, Mark Carroll, Bernard Costelloe and the late Liam Maye.

Located at Pine Avenue, the site practically overlooks the N11 dual carriageway and nearby Foxrock church.

Next Wednesday REA will auction 19 Dublin and Leinster properties including two terraced redbrick houses in Donnybrook, Dublin 4 with guide prices of around €370,000, as well as Cava Gastro Bar and Restaurant in Tullow St, Carlow, with a €320,000 guide price.

To date this year REA has auctioned 174 Leinster lots worth approximately €29m.

In Limerick REA O'Connor Murphy looks set to double their auction activity. So far this year they have sold 84 Munster and Connaught properties with combined value of €8.8m and next Thursday will offer 47 properties with combined guide prices of €3.25m. Last year they sold 55 lots worth a combined €4.52m.

A spokesperson remarked that auctions are becoming more popular amongst banks, receivers and funds due to the shorter timescale for signing a contract compared to private treaty sales.

"Attendance numbers at our auctions have increased dramatically and the bidding has become more competitive. We will hold seven auctions in 2018. Already we have 27 properties for our auction on February 28 next and believe this will increase to about 50 lots," he added.

Sherry FitzGerald will auction 24 lots with combined guide prices totalling €3.46m. at a public auction in Leopardstown next Tuesday. Dublin properties will account for eight of the lots including an Indian takeaway restaurant, at Unit 2 Orlagh Shopping Centre, Scholarstown Road, Dublin 16. The ground floor unit has a €180,000 guide price.

To date this year, this auctioneer has sold 135 lots at auction generating €32.95m. As many as 108 of those properties worth more than €26.6m combined have been sold in four auctions which it has held since September 1 last.

O'Donnellan and Joyce's auction on December 14 in Galway will include 45 lots with a combined value of €5.7m.

These include a commercial lot comprising Units 1, 5 and 6 An Coirneal, Seapoint, in the west Galway seaside village of Barna, which has a €475,000 AMV. With a combined floor area of 246 sq m the units are let individually to a vet, a physiotherapist and an accountant and generate rents totalling €40,000 a year. This suggests a gross yield of 8.42pc.

So far in 2017 the firm has generated €60m from auctioning 410 lots, of which 50 lots worth €6.2m have been sold since September 1 in two events. So even before next Thursday's auction the agent will be ahead of last year's performance when they sold 346 lots for €44.5m.

DNG which hosts auctions in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Sligo, generated almost €29.09m from the sale of 186 lots this year and 91 of those lots with a combined value of over €15.62m were sold in the last three months.

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