BANKS have been increasing their lending to property buyers, according to the company which held a monster auction last week.
The UK/Irish joint venture company Allsop Space has confirmed that 40pc of the properties sold at the auction held in Dublin were bought with bank finance, as opposed to 28pc for its last two auctions of 2011, and just 14pc for its auction held this time last year.
There were six staff from two institutions -- Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank -- in attendance at the company's latest sale during the week. The auction was the sixth in 12 months, with 492 properties sold from all over Ireland. Each bank opened a stall aimed at attracting mortgage customers.
Robert Hoban of Allsop Space said: "Bank of Ireland asked could they turn up at our auction in March with the purpose of canvassing those in attendance.
"They said that with 2,000 people regularly attending each auction event and most intent on buying, they'd be well placed to catch people who might end up attending the next auction and then sort them out with finance."
While Allsop Space auction properties don't represent the market overall, its monster property sales have become a straw barometer in recent times, given that there are almost no reliable statistics available for the actual current sale transaction prices of properties.
Thus far, Allsop Space has been the only company to successfully shift large numbers of properties, with sale prices made public.
Last week's Davy Research report on the property market was based on the recent sales session. The report stated that all the evidence indicated the property market had fallen 60pc since the peak and estimated the market would bottom out at 70pc.
Davy's Conal MacCoille estimated that prices would probably bottom out before the end of the year.
The growing perception that the market is bottoming out is most likely behind the bank's renewed interest. April's CSO property market barometer estimated Dublin prices were up 0.7pc for the month while the rest of the country remained stable.
Mr Hoban said the banks may also be drawn in by the fast-improving numbers for property investment.
"Remember that before the crash, yields in Ireland were down to 2pc and 3pc. In other countries you're looking at 8pc or 9pc . . . Last year's buyers did much better, getting yields of up to 12pc."
Allsop's sales success rate is 94pc. The houses sold in Dublin reached an average of €313,000, while apartments sold in the capital averaged €152,000. Houses sold throughout the rest of the country raised an average of €104,000, while apartments sold for an average of €68,000.