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Price is right as 1,000 join the queue to buy 46 apartments

At least one part of the country is bucking the property slump.

An auctioneer is celebrating this morning after selling 46 apartments over the weekend, despite initially advertising just 28 units for sale.

The apartment block at Irishtown in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, hit the headlines last week when it was revealed the apartments could be purchased for as little as €70,000.

And the result was almost 1,000 bargain hunters queueing up to view the apartments at Tailteann Court yesterday and on Saturday.

"It just goes to show you, if the thing is priced right it will sell," auctioneer Aidan Davitt said yesterday.

As well as the one-bed units, there were two-bed apartments on sale at €82,450 and three-bed units at €98,000. All are exempt from stamp duty, which applies to properties priced at over €127,000.

The mortgage repayments on two-bed apartments are €264.85 per month, or less then the average repayment on a €15,000 car loan, Irish Mortgage Corporation boss Frank Conway revealed.

Such was the interest in the apartments, Mr Davitt said people queued outside the development from 7am on Sunday morning. He said the weekend was such a "huge success" that he released a further 20 apartments when the extent of the demand became clear.

"Even at the height of it (the economic boom) I haven't seen people so interested and as keen to get on the property ladder, not in my 20 years of auctioneering. It has been incredible, we never could have envisaged such a rush," he said.


While some investors are still looking to property, an estimated 60pc of the buyers in Mullingar over the weekend were looking to get on the property ladder for the first time.

"We find there is big demand, if the price is right there is good demand," Mr Davitt said, adding that he believes many people are still waiting for the market to bottom out.

National Irish Bank (NIB) appointed a receiver to the 63-unit Tailteann Court apartment block before its developer had sold a single unit.

The one-, two-, and three-bed apartments had been built with the expectation they would fetch prices of up to €202,000.

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Now, receiver John McStay, in an effort to recoup some of the €7.8m owed to NIB, is selling the units at prices discounted by up to 63pc.

While the circumstances surrounding the sale of the Tailteann Court apartments are unusual, Mr Davitt said he expected to hear of similar sales around the country.

The remaining 15 Tailteann Court units are due to go sale in the coming months.

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