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Investors are back in force but urban-rural chasm is widening

HOMEGROWN property investors are back in force, with 149 properties sold for a grand total of €29m – a new Irish record for the number of properties sold in one single session.

However, the deep chasm in values between city and country was highlighted, with widely different prices agreed for urban versus rural properties.

A boarded-up, three-bedroom bungalow at Blackhorse Avenue in Dublin 7 – which had been guided at €220,000 – was sold after heated bidding for €357,500. This was €2,500 more than the €355,000 paid only minutes earlier for a brand-new, 53,733sq ft corporate office headquarters building at Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim. The four-floor building also comes with parking for 100 vehicles.

The cheapest property sold was a half-acre patch of land in Gortbeg, near Tuam, Co Galway, which went for €7,500. The highest price was €1.9m for three shops and overhead offices at 13, 14 and 15 Mainguard Street in Galway.

Robert Hoban of Allsop Space, which conducted the sale, said: “What we also saw today was the big difference in bidder attitudes to city and country properties. Dublin properties, in particular, sold well over the expected prices, while rural properties tended to sell barely at the reserve.”



Catherine Harold and her daughter Caroline Harold after the sale of Catherine’s land

Catherine Harold and her daughter Caroline Harold after the sale of Catherine’s land

Catherine Harold and her daughter Caroline Harold after the sale of Catherine’s land

Also in evidence for the first time were numerous small conglomerates of two to five Irish investors which had formed to buy off the bottom of the market. These groups resulted in the organisers making a special pre-auction announcement, urging them to nominate single “owners” before entering into bidding in order to avoid confusion.

Mr Hoban later added: “What was new this time was the numbers of homegrown professional commercial bidders present – in particular, the numbers of small groups of people who had joined up in order to take part in the bidding.”

There was a big appetite for apartments in Cork, with numbers 1-8 Woodbrook Place in Bishopstown (comprising a one-bedroom apartment, six two-bedroom townhouses  and a three-bedroom duplex) selling for €1.05m – over 25pc above the €750,000 reserve. But a shopping centre with 14 retail units at North Main Street in Cork City was left unsold with a reserve of €850,000.

The final lot of the day, an 850sq ft penthouse apartment at Wellington Court, off Wellington Street Upper in Dublin 1, was guided at €150,000 but sold for €191,000 after 35 parties remained behind for the bidding.

Six out of 10 properties sold were residential but among the buyers of these, it was estimated that 60pc were bought by investors.

Hundreds of buyers spilled into the RDS for the 9.30am start amidst tight security. Although 191 properties were billed, many vendors failed to have their legal paperwork in order on time and as a result 26 of those originally billed failed to start on the day.

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