Allsop auction spans range of emotions

Protests outside, purchasers inside, bargains to be had and businesses gone, some €14 million back in the bank or in the pockets of vendors, and Chinese buyers making a mark — yesterday’s Allsop auction of 125 Irish property lots spanned a range of human emotions.

A placard-wielding protest — one carrying the Fr Ted TV programme slogan “Down with this Sort of Thing” by a family linked to a Meath warehouse up for sale for a receiver guiding €50,000 — failed to quell interest, or activity, in the latest auction of Irish homes, businesses premises, bars, and failed dreams. Although the auctioneers preface their sales with the statement they shouldn’t be classed with the description “distressed property auctions”, there was distress to be seen — outside the auction rooms, at least. Inside, it was time to roll up the sleeves, raise hands, bid and buy, with an 87% success rate of lots finding buyers.

In a touch of Home and Away, an Irish investor, based in Australia where he works for a German investment bank, came to buy a beachside lot at popular Brittas Bay for €775,000. This Co Wicklow equivalent of Summer Bay included McDaniels pub, and a holiday resort including eight chalets and eight holiday homes.

Ex-pat purchaser, Seamus Burnage, quipped that his investment “provides a good excuse to visit friends and family at home a few times a year. Ultimately, some of my family back in Ireland may be interested in running McDaniels, and the resort, as a business.”

In Cork, the Moonduster Inn bar, restaurant and an apartment sold under the hammer. It made €220,000, the same price it had been withdrawn from sale at last December. Earlier in 2012, a different agent had hopes of getting €650,000 for the ship-shape bar in receivership.

Looking a good bet when bought for its €145,000 reserve was the former Methodist church hall, a casino, a one-time bar and restaurant at 4A Father Mathew Street, just off Cork city’s business boulevard the South Mall. It has had a checkered trading history, and was sold for receivers KPMG. It’s got 663 years to run on its 880-year lease, so has stories and new uses ahead of it yet.

In Sligo, the Riverside Suite Hotel with 30-one bed units sold for three times its low reserve, fetching €440,000, but the comparable Co Kerry Watermarque Hotel had less luck. The Cahirciveen complex of 56-bed hotel, leisure centre and 33 apartments failed to make its €725,000/775,000 price guide.

Among the cheaper buys was a Waterford city two-bed apartment, at Shandon Court, Upper Yellow Road, making €27,000, and currently bringing in a rent of €6,000 a year.

Back in Cork city, a two-bed terraced older style house at 30 Gould Street sold for well over its €42,500 reserve, making €67,000.

Half of yesterday’s €14m in sales was for housing and other half for commercial properties. Allsop’s Robert Hoban commented “there’ s little evidence that the introduction of property tax has dissuaded purchasers of residential property, with over 90% of houses and apartments selling, with a strong showing from the resident Chinese community”.


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