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Mystery of 'ghost flats'

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Sir -- Regarding your article about the "ghost estates". (Sunday Independent, January 24). In the last year, myself and my daughter have been looking for a "bargain" in the housing market.

Six months ago she viewed a new development in a Dublin suburb with an asking price of around €300.000. She telephoned the auctioneer (a smartly-dressed male in a suit, driving a sports car on the day of viewing) and offered €280,000 as she said that's all the mortgage approval she could get. He refused the offer and laughed her off. He wasn't interested in even negotiating. She has since bought in another part of the city where there is an apartment block nearby which is not completely finished. The majority of the apartments are empty and there are building foundations abandoned next to it. I emailed the auctioneer and offered the equivalent price of a one-bedroom apartment for a two-bedroom.

They replied saying that the builder wouldn't be interested.

I then asked them to pass my offer to the builder as the complex is practically empty and he may be glad to accept. I got a reply saying 'no' and that there were only three apartments left, priced at €240,000. Unless the occupiers of this complex are so broke that they can't put on the lights in the so-called "sold apartments", the complex is a ghost apartment block. I believe the auctioneers of this country are holding out, not wanting to lose commission. Or maybe they prefer to let properties lie empty in the hope that both NAMA and the unfortunate public will dish out big money for unsold houses and apartments.

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Sunday Independent