Bloomberg News

Former Convent for Sale in Biggest Irish Property Auction

September 05, 2012

A former convent outside of Dublin with buildings dating back to 1845 will be offered next month in the largest Irish property auction.

The former Sacred Heart convent, located 75 miles (123 kilometers) southwest of Dublin, is being put up for sale with a minimum price of 100,000 euros ($125,000), according to Robert Hoban, director of auctions at Allsop Space. The lot is among 130 properties that will be on sale at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin on Oct. 3.

“We know a lot of the buyers are Irish living abroad who emigrated 10, 20, 30 years ago, successful people who aren’t affected by the recession,” Hoban said by telephone. U.K. buyers attracted by rising rental yields in Dublin after the country’s property boom ended are also investing, he said.

Dublin’s property market is showing “signs of life” after Europe’s biggest property reduced the average value of residential properties in the Irish capital by two thirds, according to Dermot O’Leary, chief economist at Goodbody Stockbrokers. Even so, a lack of credit for home purchases and oversupply in rural areas will probably push down prices nationally this year and next, he said.

Georgian House

Other properties that will be offered in the auction include a Georgian house in the center of Dublin for at least 850,000 euros and four neighboring houses in the city with a minimum price of 360,000 euros, according to Hoban.

The average asking price for a home in Ireland at the peak of the property bubble was 366,000 euros, according to property website Daft.ie. It was 172,000 euros in the second quarter.

A duplex apartment in Dublin’s upmarket Donnybrook area is also for sale at a minimum price of 295,000 euros. Allsop Space, a venture between Allsop LLP and Irish property broker Space, has sold 90 million euros of real estate at seven auctions since April 2011. Past sales have included a medieval castle, an unfinished housing estate and pubs and hotels in addition to houses and apartments.

Cash buyers accounted for about 40 percent of home purchases in auctions carried out by Sherry FitzGerald, Ireland’s largest property broker, in the first six months. New mortgage lending in the second quarter totaled 524 million euros, 95 percent less than the quarterly peak in the third quarter of 2006.

“There is not the cash locally to kick things off,” according to Ronan Lyons, an economist with Daft.ie. “Hopefully we can get international investors back into the Irish market.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Finbarr Flynn in Dublin at fflynn2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net; Douglas Lytle at dlytle@bloomberg.net.


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