Fire-sale auction draws bargain hunters


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.

The majority of properties were sold by receivers and include homes in Dublin, Wicklow and Galway as well as small commercial buildings and shops. Only five of the lots in the auction went unsold.

Such was the interest in today's sale that crowds spilled out of the hotel and onto the street. Proceedings had to be suspended for several minutes while non-bidders were asked to leave the main auction room. The venue had seating for 350, with standing room for an additional 500.

The event was organised by Allsop, a UK auction house that specialises in distress sales, and its Dublin affiliate, Space.

Those planning to bid had to produce two forms of identification and a cheque or banker's draft on arrival to prove their intentions. Allsop said cash or credit cards were not accepted.

One lot, an apartment in Portlaoise, was sold to a bidder who was forced to stand on the pavement on St Stephen's Green due to overcrowding.

To ease pressure on the hotel, the entire auction was broadcast to Doheny Nesbitts pub a couple of hundred metres away.

Lot 1, a first floor studio apartment overlooking Essex Street in Dublin's Temple Bar sold for €126,000, well above its reserve price of €80,000.

Lot 9, a pharmacy in Roscrea, Co Tipperary, sold for €336,000, some €131,000 above the reserve.

Lot 14, a two-bedroom apartment in the Castleforbes development, near the IFSC in Dublin's docklands, sold for €190,000, some €50,000 over its reserve.

Lot 34, a four-bedroom mews house on Raglan Lane in Ballsbridge sold for €550,000.

The majority of lots were priced between €35,000 and €150,000 and included period homes with large gardens in the Dublin suburbs.

The sale is expected to set a new floor for Irish house prices which are widely accepted to have dropped by at least 50 per cent from peak.

A 30-strong team from Allsop in London joined Space’s 15 employees to help buyers through the process.