"So many people turned up for an auction of distressed properties in the Shelbourne Hotel today in Dublin that it had to be suspended amid Garda concerns for safety. Some 80 lots, ranging from a Ballsbridge mews to a collection of cut price flats in Portlaoise, were offered to the highest bidders..... Such was the interest in today's sale that crowds spilled out of the hotel and onto the street." (Irish Times).
"So, is the time finally right to buy property?........... The success of the Allsop Space auction at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin yesterday suggests that the housing market could be at -- or close to -- bottom, with the prices achieved averaging approximately 55pc of what similar properties sold for at the peak of the market." (Irish Independent)
"Almost €14.5 million of repossessed properties were sold over five hours at the packed auction yesterday where bidding occasionally became frenzied — with one successful bid even coming from the street outside......... Over 1,000 people packed into the ballroom of the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin .... " (Irish Examiner).
Reading yesterday's reports you might think newspaper property editors thought the bad old days of the property boom had done a Lazarus.
Rather than debating rich men and their chances of passing through the eyes of needles, however, the big question at Allsop's auction seemed to be how many cash-rich bumpkins you could fit into the hall of the Shelbourne Hotel. It seems the organisers underestimated.
Properties went for more than 20%+ above their reserve prices, but still about 50% below those asked at the peak of the bubble. Looking at some of the Dublin ones however - which I would be familiar with - it is hard to see if there were any real bargains. A €550,000 mews on Raglan Lane might be considered "cheap" by some, but there was a detached mews in the same spot on MyHome with an asking price of €620,000 last year. OK, it's cheaper... but, what isn't?
Likewise, two Churchtown properties are thought to have sold for near, or thereabouts, the current asking prices in the area. Some apartments were sold in the city centre, but nobody - nobody - is buying apartments in town at all these days, due to oversupply.
So what did Friday's auction tell us?
It told us that there are still plenty of individuals with spare cash in their pockets, despite the austerity imposed on the rest of us. It told us if you cram enough of them into an enclosed space, in response to a hyped event, they will recreate the bidding frenzies of the property boom in microcosm.
But as a barometer of the Irish economy, the current postions of prospective purchasers on the ground, and the property market in general?
I don't think it told us anything.
Back to Gombeen Nation main page