CASH-rich Irish home buyers and investors outbid overseas speculators and snapped up most of the 78 properties sold at the distressed property auction yesterday.
In all, just under €16m was spent, as all but five of the lots on offer sold in a packed room in Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel.
Prospective overseas buyers had accounted for 40pc of the catalogues sent out by the agents Allsop/Space. And 50 telephone bidders, including those calling from Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland, Australia, France and London phoned in bids.
However, despite the expectation that Allsop/Space would bring in overseas buyers to rescue the Irish property market, only five were successful, including one from Luxembourg, one from South Africa and three from the UK.
In the agent's first auction in April as many as 20pc of the properties were bought by overseas buyers.
So great was the interest in that auction that prospective buyers had to have their bids conveyed from the street. But those scenes were not repeated yesterday.
The top price was the €2.325m paid for 35 Ailesbury Road, Dublin 4 -- and this was €975,000 more than the auctioneer's guide price.
Similar Ailesbury houses were bought for more than €10m at the peak of the market.
However, in recent weeks a similar house in this sought-after area of Ballsbridge went 'sale agreed' for around €2.5m.
Auctioneer Gary Murphy said that yesterday's Ailesbury sale shows that these types of auctions can successfully sell top-of-the-market houses.
The lowest price paid was €47,000 for a three-bedroom house in Kells, Co Meath, which was almost double the reserve.
What is believed to be one of Dublin's smallest houses, 25A John Dillon Street, a one-bedroom house near Christchurch Cathedral, sold for €71,000.
Mr Murphy dismissed suggestions that reserves for this auction were higher than the last one, where total sales reached €15m.
"We had more valuable properties this time," he explained.
The second highest house price was the €710,000 paid for 48 Iona Road, Glasnevin, one of the most sought-after areas of Dublin 9. This was almost double its €360,000 reserve.
The next highest house prices were the €635,000 paid for 61 Haddington Road, which is in two flats in a busy area of Dublin 4, where there are both homes and offices. The next highest price was the €560,000 paid for two holiday homes in a property known as The Mill House on its own riverside grounds in Schull, West Cork. The price was more than double its €270,000 reserve.
Among the five properties that failed to sell was The Pint pub on Eden Quay, between O'Connell Bridge and Liberty Hall in Dublin.
Its maximum reserve was €485,000 but when bidding petered out at €475,000, Mr Murphy withdrew it.
He said afterwards that he hoped that the five unsold properties that failed to reach their reserves would be sold within the next few weeks.
Only one of the unsold properties was a house, and three of them were commercial properties.
After the recent disappointing performance of the bumper auction in Cork, property experts welcomed yesterday's results.
"It shows there really is a market for property," said Phillip Farrell, acting CEO of Real Estate Alliance.