‘I gave my landlord notice and now in a few weeks I could be homeless’ – sale-agreed homebuyers told houses now sold to single purchaser

Fury as deposits of €6,000 set to be returned

The 14 properties Military Close estate in Ballinrobe have been snapped up by a single buyer

Amy Molloy

Distraught house-hunters who went sale agreed on seven properties in an estate in Co Mayo have been informed that the houses have now been sold to a single buyer instead.

Young families and couples are among those impacted and some had already given notice to move out of their current homes.

An advertisement for the Military Close estate in Ballinrobe, Co Mayo, stated it was “the first development of its kind to be built in the town in over 10 years”.

There are 14 houses in total in the development, including one four-bed detached house and 13 three-beds that are semi-detached or terraced. They were advertised at between €220,000 and €225,000.

The estate agent handling the sales on behalf of the owner announced in a Facebook post on March 7 that phase one was sale agreed, and invited people to show their interest in phase two.

However, those who already agreed to buy homes were informed on Monday the properties are now being sold to another buyer after the owner secured a sale with an individual purchaser.

Each of the people affected paid a deposit of €6,000 and have been told they will be refunded. Six people paid deposits and one person had agreed to buy two properties.

A woman who went sale agreed said she is “heartbroken” for her daughter.

“I’m 16 years in this country, I work hard, pay tax and my child was born here. We are working very hard to secure a future for our daughter,” she told the Irish Independent.

“It’s heartbreaking to tell my daughter I can’t secure her future after working so hard. I am 42 years old, I am grown up enough to understand money means power, but you can’t do that to people. After nine years of waiting for a dream house, buying furniture and kitchen appliances. I am ready to move in, but now I can’t. I’m renting at the moment. I informed my landlord that I would be moving out. I begged if I could stay a bit longer, so now in a few weeks’ time I could be homeless. This is absolutely disgusting.”

A company called Greendrive Asset Holdings Limited, with an address in Kilmaine, Co Mayo, is the registered owner of the properties.

Its principal activity is listed as buying and selling real estate.

Fianna Fáil councillor Damien Ryan said the decision by the vendor to instead sell to a single buyer is “totally wrong”.

“In a situation where deposits are taken and people have secured a home and given notice somewhere else, it shouldn’t have happened,” he said. “There have been no new estates in Ballinrobe in the last 15 years. It’s not non-similar to other towns. A lot of places, since the economic crash, haven’t recovered, and while the economy has recovered, the housing situation hasn’t.

“Earlier this morning I had a lady on the phone who was distraught. I appreciate business is business, and if something is for sale, the highest price secures it, but if a deposit is taken, that to me is extremely unfortunate.”

The Instagram page Crazy House Prices first shared details of the sale, with a message from one of the homebuyers who lost out. Ciarán Mulqueen, who runs the account, said: “This is absolutely scandalous. Another reason why we need sale-agreed contracts. People have sold their home, ready to sign contracts and all of a sudden their new home is gone and they’ve nowhere to live. Awful.”

The estate agent has been contacted for comment.