Are you one of those jammy people who lives in a place where you intend to spend the rest of your life and have no interest in looking any further? Do you find yourself waxing lyrical (and ad nauseum) to anyone who will listen about the merits of your area ? If so, why not nominate it in our competition, The Best Place to Live in Ireland which starts tomorrow in the Weekend section of the paper and online at www.irishtimes.com/bestplace.As one of the judges in a new Irish Times competition I will try to keep my envy at bay as I read through the entries because although I’ve found my ideal place, I don’t actually live there. I like where I live but am guilty of occasionally looking over my shoulder at the greener grass in the next suburb.The best “place” can be a town/village/area/suburb/townland/ housing estate and we want you to tell us in no more than 500 words on www.irishtimes.com/bestplace why it’s so great . There will also be a number of questions asking you about the local environment and facilities in your area but don’t be put off if you area doesn’t fit the criteria, it’s the pitch that is most important.The judging panel is made up of myself, my Irish Times colleague and environment editor Frank McDonald, psychologist Maureen Gaffney, architect Paul Keogh and statistician Gerard O’Neill from Amarach Research and we all have our own ideas about what makes the best place to live.To mark the start of the series a number of Irish Times journalists including John Waters, Conor Pope and Carl O’Brien will write about their best place. So do you live in the best place in Ireland?
Northside Versus Southside
There’s a debate going on with one of my colleagues over which side of Dublin is the best to live on. She is a southsider and refers to the northside of Dublin somewhat sniffily as DNS. I retaliate by saying DNS stands for De Nicer Side, and I’m not biased by the fact that I live there….much.
While I can appreciate that parts of the southside are lovely, with a higher leaf count, a larger quantity of trophy homes , a borough with its own very distinctive accent (Roysh) and more celebrities per metre (although I’d like to point out that arguably the biggest celeb of them all, aka Bono, is a defector who was reared on the northside.This is balanced, however, by the fact that Larry Mullen, the coolest member of U2,stayed northside), I would argue that the northside trumps it in many respects.
For one thing you can buy more house for your money on the northside. Take for example Drumcondra and Glasnevin where you can get better value than in their southside equivalents – Rathmines and Ranelagh. Lisney currently has a five-bed 2,350 sq ft house in Drumcondra asking €595,0000. The equivalent house in Dublin 6 would cost at least €200,000-€400,000 more, depending on condition. Yet all these areas are close to town and Glasnevin has the bonus of the National Botanic Gardens.
Clontarf is still relatively expensive by northside standards but when you compare it to say Sandymount, you get more for your money. A three-bed house on Mount Prospect , close to St Anne’s Park, is currently on the market for under €400,000. The equivalent in Sandymount will cost €50,000-€100,000 more. Yet both areas are beside the sea, have a good choice of restaurants, delis and shops, are on the Dart and are close to town.
While the southside has arguably better public transport with the Luas and the Dart, the northside has more parks and a surfeit of impressive playgrounds (St Anne’s, Malahide Demesne, Newbridge, Ardgillan Demesne, Griffith Park to name but a few) , we are better served by cinemas (I can currently choose between Santry, Coolock, Swords, Cineworld and the Savoy in the city centre and Blanchardstown ,which I know is on the west side but very accessible via the M50). While I’m not saying that proximity to shopping centres necessarily adds to one’s quality of life, there is a good choice northside, the Omni in Santry, Pavilions in Swords, Blanchardstown and Charlestown in Finglas. Only two of those shopping centres charge customers for car parking and that’s only if they are there more than two hours. In Dundrum, you pay by the hour, regardless of the fact you are spending money in the shopping centre.
While seaside areas like Dalkey and Sandycove and Monkstown are quaint and lovely, on the northside we’ve got Skerries, Malahide and Howth and Sutton and we’ve got the most decorated GAA club, St Vincents. When I asked my colleague why southside is better she said enigmatically “perception is reality”. She says the southside is a more visually attractive place to live, or at least parts of the southside, and there’s a certain cachet to living in areas like Ballsbridge, Rathgar, Dartry or Sandycove that isn’t attached to many places on the northside, the Hill of Howth and one or two roads on Clontarf excepted. What do you think?
Negative equity mortgages – does the shoe fit?
THE ANNOUNCEMENT this week that a few of the banks will be offering negative equity mortgages to people trading up must have come as a momentary chink of light to growing families trapped in confined spaces, until, that is, they realised it doesn’t apply to them.
This product is unlikely to spark a buying frenzy of family-sized homes because although half of mortgage holders are in negative equity, the number of people who will a) get approval from the limited number of banks offering it and b) have the stomach to take on that extra debt, will be relatively small.
At this stage anyone who bought their house after 2002 with a mortgage is probably in some degree of negative equity. This mortgage product is only suited to people in a relatively small degree of negative equity who can now avail of much lower house prices. But how many of these families will actually qualify for the mortgage? The banks will be looking for a blemish-free credit record and with many families now part of the so-called squeezed middle, impacted by wage cuts, job losses, increased taxes and levies, how many will be able to show the banks prompt bill payments, a pristine credit-card statement and decent savings?
If they have all this, the banks will be then looking at how stable their employment is and it’s well known that they favour government employees and certain IT workers (Google,Ebay etc ) which narrows the field even further. Even if you’re lucky enough to be a couple working for Google with a pristine financial track record, are you going to want to land yourself in more debt for the sake of a bigger place? Say for example a couple buy a new house for €240,000 and owe €60,000 after selling your previous home. This amount would be added to the new mortgage, which would then amount to €300,000 or 25pc more than their new house is worth – in line with the new, 125pc loan-to-value limit which Bank of Ireland has outlined. They would also have to factor in stamp duty and legal fees.
A couple would qualify for tax relief at €900 per year to 2017 when the tax relief ends while a single person trading up with a €300,000 mortgage could claim €2,700 relief over the next six years if they buy before the end of this year.
For those stuck in a small apartment with small children, getting out might seem a pressing issue but as we haven’t yet reached the bottom of the market, many will want to wait to see what happens. Some might take the option of letting out their property and renting another place – although this depends on whether you can afford to cover any shortfall, if the rent doesn’t cover the mortgage.
Then there will be people with tracker mortgages who won’t want to lose them by taking the negative equity mortgage route and others might be put off by tax relief implications, depending on when they bough their property. All in all, it seems to me that this mortgage is for such a select group that the impact won’t so much be big bang as a damp squib.
Will despot decor catch on in Ireland?
Feeling a little powerless in your life? Well according to the FT, despot decor is coming your way if you live in a western city. You may feel like a minion in your everyday life and think your innate superiority and general fabulousness has gone largely unrecognised but inside your own four walls you can be master or mistress of all you survey (if you are despotic enough to get your family to go along with it that is).
Inspired by the opulent palaces of Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein et al the dictator chic look is designed to make you look all-powerful and intimidating and keep your guests in a constant state of awe . I’m not sure how I’d implement the look in my three-bed semi but apparently a good starting point is to hang a portrait of yourself looking important and imperious in all major rooms especially the bathroom so visitors can contemplate your regal bearing while they sit on the throne (gold plated of course).
Another essential is an enormous gold eagle or a marble lionhead and all furniture should be as uncomfortable and unwelcoming as possible, preferably in the old style of the absolute monarchy. Then it’s a case of out with the Laura Ashley and anything fluffy or squishy and in with the gold paint which should be lashed on every available surface. And remember no amount of ormulu and marble is too much. Scale is also important – everything has to be miles too big for comfort. Why settle for a lampshade when you can have a chandelier the size of a two-car garage a la Saddam Hussein?
The FT predicts that dictator chic is coming our way but are we ready for it as a nation? Or have we seen enough scenes of unbridled extravagance for one lifetime already?
Do you have a flexi-address?
Do you have a flexi-address? The advantage of one of these is that you can change where you live according to your mood or whoever you happen to be talking to at a particular time.
People with flexi-addresses come in two categories: those who are in denial about their true address and those who really aren’t sure.
I have fallen into the latter category for most of my life. I grew up in a progressive, if confused, neighbourhood, where you could literally choose where you wanted to live. Although we all lived in the same house, one member of my family lived in Ballymun, another in Finglas while others veered towards Glasnevin. To confuse matters further, a number of people formed their own breakaway area, Glasnevin north.
The reason for the lack of one true identity was that our neighbourhood is sandwiched between three areas. While it is in the parish of St Canices church in Finglas, it is close to parts of Ballymun and a stone’s throw from Glasnevin Avenue.
Those selling houses or applying for jobs might have gone for the Glasnevin option. However, purists will always rumble your Glasnevin credentials by asking: “So how far is that from the Botanic Gardens?” Subsequent addresses included Blanchardstown, but which was very close to Mulhuddart. I now live in Beaumont minutes away from the hospital but so close to Artane you can see St David’s school from our road.
The problem with being borderline is that even if you manage to procure ordnance survey map evidence of your real address, it doesn’t stop spoofing if the occasion demands. When it comes to selling houses how often have you seen Irishtown masquerading as Sandymount, Fairview as Clontarf, Coolock as Santry, Ballybrack as Killiney and Donaghmede as Malahide? Then there’s the ever-burgeoning Blackrock which now stretches from the Merrion Gates to the Dublin mountains often obliterating areas like Deansgrange, and even parts of Cabinteely on its way.I’m yet to come across any incontrovertible proof that changing your address has any effect on property values.However if an entire neighbourhood decide they deserve a change of address and believe hard enough they want to live in a particular area then it can happen – as was the case when the Ballymun Avenue became Glasnevin Avenue. Dublin 6W would have been part of Dublin 12, except people who lived there kicked up because they felt they would be disadvantaged. I’m wondering if I and all my neighbours were to decide we live in Clontarf north (far far north), would that have a sudden upward effect on property values? Would people suddenly perceive our area to be more upmarket or would we just look a tad silly and pretentious?
And it’s not only geographical boundaries that get crossed when occasion demands, now you’ve got Terenure residents wanting electoral boundaries changed to reflect its ‘middle-class’ concerns. Some will even consult ancient geographical borders if it means proving a point. A friend who lives in Blanchardstown claims she lives in Castleknock because it is in the barony of Castleknock. For those who don’t know, a barony is a county subdivision thought to be a Norman division although its precise origin is unknown . There are 331 baronies in Ireland and they are no longer used for local government.But ultimately is manufacturing an address that you perceive is better than the one you’ve got not buying into rampant snobbery? Isn’t it better for the soul to be loud and proud about where you really live? Unless like me, you are not really sure….
Well boo-hoo – landlords in trouble get very little sympathy
“Well boo-hoo!” was the response of a colleague recently to the news that landlords are having a hard time of it lately. It seems that there is every sympathy for the person who falls into difficulty with the repayments on their family home but very little for those who can’t service a mortgage on an investment property. But is that entirely fair?
Not every landlord has a bulging portfolio of property they accumulated during the boom. Not every landlord is a mean-minded grasping Rigsby-style character that would charge tenants through the nose to live in a garden shed, if they could get away with it. In fact the figures suggest that most Irish investors are not career landlords, they are small-time investors who accumulated an extra property or three through a combination of circumstances and easy credit.
There are quite a few landlords out there who acquired their status when they traded up and decided not to sell their first property. By renting it out, they reckoned the mortgage would be taken care of and the property could be a nest egg for them when they retire or a place they could eventually pass on to their kids. With the first property ticking over some may have taken a punt on a second investment property, thinking they were doing the right thing for their future. Nothing overly ambitious – not exactly hoovering up every available property – but boy are some of them regretting it now. Because if you fall into financial difficulty with an investment property that isn’t paying its way, it is a dreadful drain on resources. For those who are struggling to make ends meet and pay the mortgage on their family home, the problem is magnified if you also have an investment property to subsidise.
And if you bought it after 2002- 2003 with a mortgage (ie you weren’t a cash buyer) it is likely to now be in some degree of negative equity so selling may not be an option. If you got a top-up loan to refurbish the place the chances are your rent mightn’t be covering the mortgage and if you have a social welfare tenant you are likely to be under pressure to reduce your rent. Add to that the household tax, NPPR charge, PRTB registration fees and service charges.
A friend of mine owes €900 this year between the NPPR, household tax on her own house and on her investment property and a €300 service charge on her investment property. She held on to her first house in west Dublin when she got married , a modest three-bed, and let it out to a social welfare tenant. Now eight years and several children later the rental property is in negative equity, her husband is unemployed and she is supporting the family on a much-reduced wage. She has no idea how she is going to pay the charges on the rental property and is considering finding herself a second job at the weekend to keep everthing afloat. Meanwhile her social welfare tenant (because that is predominantly the market in the area where she owns the house) is asking her to reduce the rent. As it is, the rent is €200 shy of the montly mortgage repayment because she has already reduced it several times over the past 24 months to stay in line with local rents. Then there’s income tax payable on the property, a hefty enough sum, even though she’s not making a profit.
“Well boo-hoo,” you might say. Buying any property is a risk and she should never have held on to her first property if she can’t take the heat. But couldn’t the same be said of anyone who buys a property, even as a family home? Isn’t it always a risk? How many of us really knew how things were going to turn out? And wouldn’t more of us have invested during the boom if we’d had the opportunity?
One house in Dublin or 100 in Leitrim?
The former chairman of AIB Dermot Gleeson sold his house on Shrewsbury Road in Ballsbridge for a figure believed to be in excess of €5 million. (click here to read more) – a third of the price it would have fetched at the height of the boom. But in today’s market €5 million is a lot of money and with more square foot for your euro, I couldn’t help wondering what you can get elsewhere for that amount .
So €5 million will get you?
One house on Shrewsbury(but it would have to be semi-detached and probably not in pristine condition). Add on €2- €3million plus for one that’s detached and in tip-top condition. And if there are substantial grounds add at least €5 million. Walford (bought by Sean Dunne in 2005 for €58 million) was asking €15 million even though the house needs complete refurbishment. As no sale has been confirmed yet, we wonder if anyone bid anywhere near this figure?
Two trophy houses on Palmerston Park, in Rathmines. Sherry FitzGerald is asking €2.45 for Nadur on Palmerston Park,a super-swanky six bed 325 sqm . However, with no takers so far, the price might be negotiable.Click here
Three Houses in Abington, Malahide. A five-bed mansion, once owned by Ronan Keating (click here to read more)- which he sold back to Parkway Properties two years ago, has just sold for around €1.5 million through Lisney, which is a good price (relatively speaking) considering a clutch of other vendors there are looking for upwards of €1.8 million. Back in the day prices for some of these mock-Georgian mansions were around €3 million.
Four houses with sea views in Howth. There are now fairly substantial houses in Howth asking around €1 million- €1.5 million (and just because they are asking doesn’t mean they are getting) such as Ardeevin on Carrickbrack Road- a four-bed overlooking Dublin Bay with an oval sitting room click here . There’s also Shandon on Carrickbrack Road, a redbrick split level on half an acre asking €1 million with four bedrooms click here.Taobh Coille on Claremont Road in Howth is asking €1.5 million. It is 1,600 sq ft has been refurbished and has a 135 ft garden click here
Five big houses in Dalkey. Such as 24 Ulverton Terrace, a four-bed 250 sq m refurbished house currently asking €1 million. Click here or Waterside on Coliemore Road is a modern detached waterfront house of 2,500sqft / 232sqm with sea views, off street parking and planning permission for a private slipway which is also asking €1 million.Click here
10 big family houses in Cork. There are any number of impressive-looking four and five-bed family homes priced at around the €500,000 mark such as Clifton House in Grange, Douglas, Cork, a five-bed 245 sqm detached house on over half an acre. Click here and Mitchells Court, a new five-bed 220 sqm detached house in Kerry Pike. Click here
20 apartments in Dublin’s docklands. Two and three beds in sought after apartment developments in Dublin’s docklands are now asking around €230,000-€270,000. In Forbes Quay in Grand Canal Square a two bed third floor apartment with a terrace around the corner from the Grand Canal theatre is asking €249,000 through Owen Reilly. Nearby on Gallery Quay a two-bed fifth floor apartment with a balcony is asking €260,000. Click here On the north docks, a two bed apartment on Spencer Dock is asking €240,000 through Hooke & MacDonald.Click here
50 three-bed terraced houses in Finglas. There is a huge choice at the moment of three beds in the area at prices starting at €80,000-€100,000. A three bed end of terrace on Dunsink Drive is asking €80,000. Click here and a three bed terraced house on Abbotstown Drive is asking €89,950.Click here
100 one and two-bed apartments in Leitrim. As Leitrim has the lowest house prices in Ireland, €5m could well get you around 100 apartments priced between €40,000-€50,000. In Dillon Court in Manorhamilton a two bed ground floor isasking €38,000. Click here and 7 The Old Mill, a swish looking two bed in a converted mill is asking €40,000. Click here
Whoa…property tax sure is a contentious issue
When I wrote about the challenges the Government face in terms of applying a value-based property tax fairly before 2014 in my last blog I was expecting a reaction but not the level of vitriol towards the tax or the whiff of revolution.
My previous blog about a protester interrupting a mass property auction and warning people about the ” ill will” they could be buying along with a distressed property elicited mainly jokey responses – with quite a few zoning in on the fact that I’d made certain sweeping generalisations about grey-haired men at auctions. But on the subject of property tax or should I say the “P” word – few were in the mood for jokes. The comments ranged from the concerned to the outraged to alarming amphibian analogies.
A reader called Kuhn posted:
“Take a pot, boil the water.
Take a frog, throw him into the pot of boiling water, he jumps right out.
Take a pot of cold water, put the frog in the water and turn on the stove.
The frog will sit and be slowly boiled to death.
THIS IS WHAT THE GOVERNMENT IS DOING TO YOU ALL.”
I’m guessing Taoiseach Enda Kenny might deny that the frog in cold water conspiracy theory has any basis in truth but some feel the household charge is a softly softly introduction to a more punitive property tax . He has defended the €100 household charge to be introduced in January, arguing that the money being raised was vital to fund public services. In an Irish Times report yesterday he said it would help pay for “fire services and libraries and street cleaning” and added, “these things are all funded by the exchequer up until now and it’s necessary that citizens understand that they can make a contribution of €2 per week.”
From the comments I received it seems that many people are afraid of what is coming down the tracks, they already feel they are making enough of a financial contribution and not everyone is convinced that the money will go to fund these services. David said: “The EU/IMF dont really care where we get the money from as long as we get it. A tax on your house is an immoral tax especially when significant stamp tax has already been paid.” Another reader J Mac who lived in the US said: “Look, when I was in states, property taxes started out about $500 a year in our neighbourhood, then increased every second year to where they are averaging $10k a year now.They said it is to keep the services good, but 90% of it goes into the black hole of politician-made debt. When people cannot pay, after 3 years the property may be legally seized by the county and sold off to settle the debt. Now if they owed 30k for 3 years with fines and late payments added in this could go to 100k.”
Some of the people commenting were outraged investors who feel overburdened with taxes and registration fees ( click here see Fiona Reddan’s piece today about landlords feeling under siege) and others were advocating mass non-payment . But if stamp duty revenue has all but dried up, what is the alternative to the value-based property tax? Four readers put forward alternative scenarios . Peter reckoned the only viable system is one which will have a ceiling limited to a fixed proportion of the household income “irrespective of the value or size of the house.I would posit 0.15% of the valuation but no-one having to pay more than 2% of adjusted household income. Adjusted household income being the total household income, less the rent or mortgage. For eg a pensioner couple living in a €300K house this would be €88 rather than €450.However, I fear the enonomists would see this as inefficient.” Edel and Mary suggested introducing a council tax whereby the tenant pays the tax in a rental property while Laura asked “Why are the Government ignoring the much simpler option to tax based on size in square meters. No one really knows the value of property any more.”
Anyone else got any ideas?
Property tax, take two: the lessons to be learned
Back in 1983 when the residential property tax was introduced by the Fine Gael/Labour coalition, Olivia O’Leary asked in The Irish Times if people would be penalised for home improvements that could add value to their home. “For instance will the elaborate pine fittings be assessed? Will it be a tactical necessity to ensure that built-in cupboards and permanent fittings are kept to a minimum?” she wrote.
And we could ask the same question about the value-based residential tax to be introduced before 2014 as a requirement in the EU/IMF programme of financial support for Ireland.
Elaborate pine fittings might have had a positive effect on suburban house prices back in the 1980s but nowadays they would have the opposite result (which might, in fact, herald their return?). If the Celtic Tiger sparked a vanilla-gloss kitchen and glass box extension show-off fest among neighbouring properties, will the introduction of a value-based property tax see people race to have the most unremarkable house on the street?
After all, how much more can people expect to pay in tax if they were to renovate a property to a high standard or build on an extension?
In May 1983 a 1.5 per cent tax was levied on people’s principal residence where the market value exceeded £65,000 and the household income exceeded £20,000. Home owners were required to make a tax return stating the value of their property and failure to do so could result in Revenue making its own valuation. If they got the valuation wrong and sold the property, they had to refund the difference. This time around, the tax is expected to be much broader, with fewer people exempt, but will still be based on a percentage of the market value of a property. It will be levied on family homes and investment property and, we as yet don’t know if property owners will be required to furnish a valuation by a professional .
By then we’ll presumably have, the national house price register to help determine property values but it will only date back to 2010 . House sales have been sluggish to say the least since then so what if a house comparable to yours hasn’t been sold on your street in recent times?
In the 1980s people were up in arms about the tax, there were protests, a High Court challenge to its constitutionality (The Court ruled it was not unconstitutional) and defaulting on a grand scale, until it was scrapped in 1997. However, with stamp duty no longer providing a stable revenue, a property tax has been on the horizon for some time and now the challenge for the government is to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.
In a small ad in The Irish Times pages on September 29th 1989 accountancy firm Ernst & Whinney summed it up.
The value of your house has increased….
You have to pay residential property tax on Ist October.
Back then the tax did not apply to people with substantial property holdings whose private residences were worth less than €65,000. John Kelly FG remarked in the Dáil in 1983 “One could be a mohair-suited, suede-booted , high-living bachelor living in a rented flat worth £64,000.Such a bachelor might own a street of houses where other people lived – he could be the beneficial owner of the entire Pembroke Estate – yet not one penny would he be taxed because he rented his main residence.”
This time mohair-suited, suede-booted high-living bachelors won’t escape the net, because it seems that this time, investment properties will be liable for the tax.
Brisk bidding at distressed property auction interrupted by protester
Super-smooth auctioneer Gary Murphy barely missed a heartbeat when a man stood up in front of him at the Allsop Space auction of mostly distressed property in Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel yesterday and asked if he could guarantee that buyers wouldn’t also be getting “ill will with their neighbours and the people who can no longer afford to keep the property.” Murphy, who works for UK-based Allsop, replied ”don’t bid then” before thanking the protester for his “kind words” and continuing on to Lot 28.
Judging from the packed auction room, which from where I was sitting looked like a sea of mostly grey-haired men aged 50-plus, there weren’t that many bidders pausing to worry about the implications of buying into a community where they may not be welcome. Over 1,600 people turned up and spilled out of the auction room into the corridor and bar and the bidding was brisk. The appetite for distressed property seems to be as keen as ever with 92 per cent of the 108 properties selling under the hammer in lickety-split time. Around half were cash buyers. There were whoops of delight from the successful bidders after some of the lots were sold and Murphy commented on what a ”happy crowd” they were. The joviality was interrupted just before Lot 28 when the protester voiced his concerns.
I later spoke to the protester, Tom McNulty , from a group called the anti-eviction taskforce, who said he stood up at the auction because he felt while people were getting caught up in the excitement of the auction room they can forget there’s a “human side to many of these sales and there are families suffering”. Around three quarters of the properties at the auction were being sold by the receiver and were previously owned by investors and business people . With him was a man who was there to watch his family business being sold under the hammer. He said he appeared in the High Court recently and as he can’t afford a solicitor, had to defend himself . He felt powerless and “up against a massive machine” and felt he had been harshly dealt with in court.
Robert Hoban director of auctions at Allsop Space said he had no comment to make on the protest. “People are entitled to protest but these properties are going to be sold and what we’re offering is another method of selling this property.”
I sat beside a man called Jim Kelly who was keeping an eye on Lot 30 – a two-bed apartment at Beacon Court in Sandyford which sold for €152,000. His daughter bought a similar “but better positioned” apartment at Beacon Court four years ago for a cool €420,000 . “She told me not to tell her what it got,” he said. And who could blame her…you could really torture yourself over the life-long implications of paying that extra €268,000 .
Apart from the overwhelming majority of men over 50 (okay, I didn’t count them but it seemed like that ) there was a smattering of women at the auction as well as a number under-40s, and people from the Asian, African and middle-Eastern communities. Robert Hoban said he noticed a bigger turn-out of people from other communities at this auction than previous. “A lot of them have been watching and now they are taking part.”
The property that sold for the most was 174 Pembroke Road in Dublin 4 a mid-terrace building with two restaurants – Indian restaurant Chandni and Japanese restaurant Koshi - that went for €630,000 and has an annual rent of €92,000. House-wise the most expensive one was 13 Garville Road in Rathgar, Dublin 6 , a long leasehold property divided into eight self contained residential units which sold for €435,000 – €15,000 over the reserve price and has an annual rent of €12,920. One of the bargains of the auction was a four bed apartment in Northwood Santry which sold for€76,000 – less than a quarter of its original price.
A log cabin on the shores of Lough Sillan in Shercock, Co Cavan with access to a private marina went for €131,000, over four times the reserve.
The success rate of the four Allsop Space distressed auctions has averaged at 92 per cent. The agents themselves expect it will eventually level out at the UK average of around 80 per cent. But for now it appears that despite the current economic meltdown, there are still a lot of people out there with money and a thirst for a bargain.