Hundreds of repossessed homes in Ireland to be sold by auction...
UK property consultancy Allsop to hold auction in April at Dublin's Shelbourne hotel:
Flats in Ireland that could have fetched €150,000 in the Celtic Tiger years are to be put on the market for as little as €25,000 (£21,000) in the country's first ever mass auction of repossessed homes.
And, in a sign of how wide the property crash is, the latest item to turn up in liquidation sales in Dublin is a job lot of 15 cranes, including a pair towering over Anglo Irish Bank's half-built headquarters in the city's docklands.
"Tower cranes were among the most sought-after heavy plant and machinery 10 years ago," Ricky Wilson of Wilsons Auctions says. "You couldn't buy them quick enough. Now they are left idle for two or three years on sites."
He has 15 cranes worth €500,000 going on sale on 26 March, with German, Dutch and Polish buyers expressing interest.
But it is the auction of flats and houses that is causing the bigger stir in Dublin. The UK property consultancy Allsop will shortly publish its catalogue of 80 lots in the residential sale, which will include everything from stylish apartments in Georgian houses to new flats in Dublin's docklands to family homes in sought-after parts of suburbia.
For the cash-rich bidder, there appear to be bargains everywhere. At the top of the range are homes in the Dublin 4 districts of Sandymount and Ballsbridge, which commanded premium prices in the boom. One property – a two-bed, two-bathroom flat in a "prestigious block" in central Dublin – was formerly on sale for €900,000. It now has a reserve price close to €220,000.
At the other end of the market is a flat in Limerick city centre with a reserve of only €25,000.
Up on a notch on the price ladder are two-bedroom flats in midlands towns such as Athlone and Portlaoise going for just €30,000.
In Wexford, in Ireland's south-east corner, a job lot of six flats and several commercial units are listed.
Other lots include a four-bedroom family home in south Dublin with a price tag of €400,000. Allsop is not revealing details but estate agents say even modest homes in this part of the city would easily have fetched €2m in the good times.
The property auction is to be held on 15 April in the Shelbourne, one of Dublin's top hotels. Gary Murphy, a partner at Allsop, says that his "phone hasn't stopped ringing" since word got out at the weekend.
Most of the lots were previously owned by property investors who have gone into receivership or simply handed back the keys to the banks.
Allsop hopes the auction will inject new life into the moribund property market, which has been paralysed by fear that house prices, which are already down 45% from their peak, may have still further to drop.
"It will restore confidence in the market. That day has to come to Ireland," Murphy says.
"You can look at all the economic analysis, but you get no better feel for the market than when you are on the rostrum, calling on buyers to part with their money," he adds. "To do that 80 times, you soon find out if the market is strong or weak. We hope this will establish the floor."
But for those who bought in the boom, the auction will stick in the craw.
"If you bought for €300,000 and you see a similar property selling for €50,000 to €60,000, your first reaction is going to be, 'I'm in negative equity for €200,000 to €300,000,'" says Ronan Lyons, an economist with the property website daft.ie.
However, he says homeowners should not panic: "It's unlikely that prices for two-bedroom apartments will settle at €40-€50k. It's too cheap in relation to rent."
Report by Lisa O'Carroll - The Guardian.