Saturday 16 November 2019

Knowing when to sell

As we report in today's paper, an 8.5-acre site on the outskirts of the Co Meath village of Crossakiel that sold for €1.5m in 2005 was yesterday sold back to its original owner for just €60,000, a decline in value of 96pc. It is transactions such as these which reveal the property mania that gripped Ireland during the Celtic Tiger era.

One of the legacies of the property boom was that Ireland was left with far too much land zoned for residential and other forms of development.

While such "development" sites changed hands for what now seem to have been extraordinary prices during the good times, their value has since fallen back to agricultural levels. This means that developers, and the banks who lent to them, are facing losses of 90pc or more.

Which is what happened in Crossakiel. Instead of filling up with commuters, the site will once again be populated solely by grazing cattle.

To farmer and cattle breeder David Gilsenan, the former and new owner of the site, we offer our congratulations. While the rest of the country was losing the run of itself, he knew when to sell and, now that the bubble has burst, we suspect that his timing in buying back in will prove to be equally inspired.

Irish Independent

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