Groupthink: Homes landed for €85k each

A GROUP of individuals have banded together to get the deal of a lifetime, snapping up 14 upscale holiday homes in receivership for €85,000 each — less than one-third of the original price.

And the success of having 14 sales simultaneously go through on a “back-to-back” basis can be a precedent for some other distressed house schemes, it has been claimed.

The purpose-built holiday homes at Mountain View, Glengarriff, in West Cork, along with a leisure centre to be run by a co-op, have been bought collectively by private cash buyers, who range in age from their 30s to their 70s.

They each paid around €85,000 for the three-bed, four-star, rental-quality houses, which had idled in receivership for two years. Mountain View was built by a Limerick partnership, who had hoped to sell them with the aid of tax breaks for around €300,000 each.

Now they have just been insured by their new owners for a rebuild cost of about €150,000 each.

The disparate group came together in August 2011 when local, part-time resident and legally-savvy businessman Finn McSweeney decided: “I didn’t want a ghost estate on my doorstep.”

He met with estate agent John O’Neill of REA Celtic Properties, and between them they targeted dozens of people who had links to Glengarriff, including regular holiday-makers, golfers, families in mobile home parks, and public and civil servants retiring with cash lump sums.

All 14 buyers moved in tandem on contracts, as well as putting about €200,000 into a fund to get all the houses (averaging 1,200 sq ft) to the same finished standard. There was a list of at least six other potential buyers if anyone pulled out.

“There was a huge element of trust in auctioneer John O’Neill, and the group’s leader, Finn McSweeney — that was the key,” said receiver Richard Maguire of O’Donovan Caulfield Lavin, acting for Anglo Irish Bank.

“Every one of the 14 houses had lights blazing on New Year’s Eve. Instead of being a ghost or famine village, there’s been a real gain for the community.”


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