Bargain hunters splash out €13.7m at property auction
THE property tax might have been the hot topic around the corner in Leinster House – but it did nothing to deter steely buyers with an eye for a bargain.
A ghost estate, a bridal shop, a petrol station and a Georgian mansion complete with its own recording studio all rapidly exchanged hands at what is now a familiar fixture on the property scene.
The function room at Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel was packed to capacity for yesterday's Allsops Space auction, which saw 115 properties sold.
The auctioneers claim this was the most properties ever sold in Ireland in a single day, netting a total of €13.7m.
A man in his 50s picked up a ghost estate in Cavan, comprising five completed houses, four unfinished units and planning for a further 52, for a reasonable €210,000.
One observer at the auction noted that just one of those houses would have fetched that price in the boom.
Wreathed in smiles after buying the Portarra Lodge B&B in Moycullen, Co Galway, for €267,000 was keen angler Michael Canney – who had been the manager of the guest house, along with partner Joyce Dempsey. "I'm over the moon – I would have gone double the price," he beamed.
He said anglers all over Europe had been sending him their best wishes and guaranteeing their return if he managed to net the property.
A father and his three sons were rejoicing after they bought a 10-unit housing estate in Co Leitrim at the reserve of €250,000.
Thomas McNulty and his sons, Sean (30), Diarmuid (28) and Joe (26), are now going to sit back and think about their plans.
"You wouldn't build it for what we paid," said Thomas, who runs the Donegal Bay bar in Bundoran and who hopes the purchase will keep his sons in Ireland.
A London-based publican was in a rush to secure two properties before heading back to the airport for his flight.
"Padraig" bought a derelict bungalow in Charleville, Co Cork – explaining that it was adjacent to his parents' home. A reserve of €15,000 had been set – but Padraig declared that he had been "robbed", eventually paying €33,000.
On a whim, he also picked up a property for a friend based in the US, whose family home is just across the road from the three run-down terrace buildings in the middle of Roscrea, Co Tipperary, which Padraig secured for €57,500.
The most expensive lot was a Georgian house on Herbert Street in Dublin, bought for €640,000 by a young man who declined to be named.
The bargain of the day was a large Georgian former convent in Eyrecourt, Co Galway, with its own wine cellar, gym, a separate two-bed annex, a former recording studio and a huge conservatory on a two-acre site.
An internet bidder from the UK bought it at a snip at €285,000 – a fraction of the €1.15m being sought on the open market two years ago.
The price will have come as a disappointment to former owner, legendary whistling ballad singer Roger Whittaker (77) – best known for his 1960s hit 'Durham Town' – who spent over €1m upgrading the house.
He and wife Natalie, who have moved to France, bought it from his American promotions manager, Skip Heinecke.
The auction came amid reports that the latest property prices for Dublin showed their first annual rise in more than five years – though prices fell in the rest of the country.
Robert Hoban, of Allsop Space, said there was a good mix of commercial and residential property at the auction, with commercial units with a solid existing tenant the most popular of all.