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Distressed-property auction attracts little action

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Auction
UNDER THE HAMMER This 1.98 acres of farmland at Boheh, Knappagh, outside Westport, sold for €10,000.

Westport distressed-property auction attracts lots of interest but little action


Edwin McGreal
edwinmcgreal@mayonews.ie

Yet another insight into life after the Celtic Tiger was there for all to see in the Castlecourt Hotel, Westport, on Friday afternoon last.
A property auction held in the hotel, conducted on behalf of Secured Property Loans Limited (SPLL), included properties that had come into the hands of the company after customers defaulted on loans that used property as security.
While a distressed-property auction is a sign of the times, so too was the outcome – only two of the ten lots which were up for auction were sold.
Over 100 people attended the auction, but the only time the majority raised a hand was to scratch an itch – a move that could have proved very expensive had it been misinterpreted.
The first sale was nearly an hour in coming, as the first five lots were all withdrawn after the highest bid failed to meet with the satisfaction of vendor SPLL.
Eventually, though, SPLL allowed onto the market two acres of farmland at Boheh, Knappagh, Westport, when the vendor received an offer for €5,000. After three more bids it was sold for €10,000. Auctioneer Michael Gormally, who had been quite restless up to then, was visibly relieved to be able to bring down the gavel on a sale.
The second lot to sell in the auction was 27 acres of land suitable for forestry in Derryribbeen, Burrishoole. The crowd laughed heartily when Michael Gormally started the bidding at €100,000. He eventually accepted a bid for €20,000. Midway through this auction, the vendor revealed that there were entitlements on this land of €3,800 a year for the next 18 years – implying a total return of €68,400 for a buyer willing to be patient. This new information soon attracted a few bidders, and eventually the land went for €56,000.
Auctioneer Gormally described one of the lots – a 0.6 acre site at Deerpark, Aghagower North, Westport, as being in a ‘beautiful location’ and one that would have ‘sold for hundreds of thousands in 2007’.
But the fact that we are living in 2012 was all to apparent: An unfinished house built to wall plate level stands on the site. Despite the fine views of Kinlooey Lough and Croagh Patrick that the site afforded, it was withdrawn from the auction when the highest bid from the floor was only €27,000.
Perhaps a lot of the people who were there and wanted to bid for the properties did not wish to do so in such a crowded room. The Mayo News understands that Michael Gormally and SPLL were busy until late in the evening discussing various offers on lots that were withdrawn from auction. How successful they were is unclear, but 2007 prices they most certainly did not get.

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