THE state of the stagnant house market was laid bare at an auction at which just one out of 40 properties sold.
The sale of residential and commercial properties in Co Donegal attracted more than 100 potential buyers to Letterkenny's Mount Errigal Hotel.
However, reality bit even deeper when the hammer was brought down on the auction, as just one modest €25,000 seaside chalet in Greencastle was sold.
Organiser of the sale, Gerard O Riain of Easy-Let Donegal, said he had received deposits on three other properties after the sale.
Two of these properties were at Loughview Park in Greencastle with reserve prices of €162,000.
Auctioneer Mr O Riain said: "This was not a firesale by the banks.
"This was Joe Public trying to get a decent price for their homes.
"There are hopefully four more homes sold in Donegal today and I'm glad about that.
"All I am is a matchmaker. I bring the bride and groom together and hopefully they can find some common ground to reach a deal on a property," he said.
He said he was not surprised by the lack of house sales across the country.
"People are still nervous and annoyed that their homes were valued so highly when realistically they were never worth so much money.
"My audience today contained a lot of other auctioneers and builders who are still trying to gauge the market.
"I have grabbed the market by the neck and I'm trying to tell sellers they have to be realistic. It's difficult but it's a fact of life," he said.
One of the main properties for auction was a 12-acre commercial site in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim.
The shopping centre, which already has a Tesco supermarket onsite and has 25 apartments and 14 retails units, had a reserve price of €5m.
A telephone bid of €1.5m was made which was later increased upon, but not disclosed afterwards.
Other houses which failed to sell included a €69,500 three-bedroom house in Meadowbank in Letterkenny for €69,500 and a large site on Letterkenny's Main Street for €200,000.