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Image Simon Moynihan
Staff Writer

There’s nothing like a good property story to grab the national attention. And Allsop and Space proved yet again this week that we are still a country obsessed.

108 “stressed” properties went up for auction at the Shelbourne Hotel on Wednesday and an army of 1,600 people showed up to rubberneck and gawp. And some even showed up to bid.

In all, 99 properties were sold. A house in Ballinrobe, Co Mayo went for just €25,000 and in Rialto, Dublin 8, another sold for €73,000.

The story hit number one on the Irish Times “most read” list and was still in the top five today. Twitter went bananas as punters tweeted every bid, every price and all sorts of observations. And there was plenty of opinion like:

“…auction in the Shelbourne shows us how delusional our native auctioneers and estate agents are”

Whew! Well, that set me wondering. You see, the Allsop and Space team have been doing what we’ve been begging the government to do for years. They’re lifting the shroud of secrecy that has always surrounded the Irish property market.

For the first time we’re getting an idea of what houses and apartments are really selling for.* The chaps who’ve been nudging and winking away for years are finally being exposed.

At the auction, a two bedroom apartment with parking at 105 The Cubes in Sandyford, Dublin sold for €152,000. It’s a nice place, and that sure looks like a good price to me.

The funny thing is that right now, another agency is advertising number 501 The Cubes for €455,000. They even open the blurb with the wonderful “PRICE REDUCED TO SELL!”**

That price is pretty delusional, but it’s not all that unusual. Number 503 is also “REDUCED TO SELL!!” at €310,000 and number 102 is “Priced to sell” at €285,000. They’re all similar two-bedroom apartments in the same Sandyford development.

So what the heck is going on? How can one agent sell a property at auction for one price while another agent is looking for three times as much for an almost identical property? Someone is taking the Michael methinks. Really, we do know that €455,000 is too much for a suburban apartment, but thanks to Allsop and Space we now know exactly how crazy that price actually is.

Wednesday’s show at the Shelbourne was Allsop and Space’s fourth and largest mass property auction this year. And it looks like they’ll keep getting bigger. They also publish the results of their auctions on their website. And if they keep publishing sales prices, it means that soon enough ordinary punters will have access to a whole lot of actual sales price data for actual individual properties - which can be used to make informed property decisions.***

How so? Well, if I was looking for a flat in The Cubes, I sure as heck wouldn’t be using €455,000 as my starting point for negotiations. I think I’d begin somewhere around the €152,000 mark. Wouldn’t you?

Imagine an Ireland where we no longer need to consider stuff like the drop in national asking price averages, or listen to agents waffle on about local sales trends. Instead we'd have actual real hard selling prices.

Oh the transparency! I can hardly stand it!



*In June Sherry Fitzgerald published a list of prices for properties that they'd sold in 2011 through their Dublin network in the syle of "Leopardstown €270,000 2 bed apt". The Irish Times also published leaked prices from an unnamed estate agency in the same style. Neither were able to provide the actual addresses although plenty of people tried identifying them on boards and forums.
**The prices and quotes for The Cubes properties were on on Thursday 1st December 2011.
***Auction results in Ireland have always been public, but auctions have generally been held for high end properties. To my knowledge, this is the fisrt time we've seen large numbers of up-to-date auction results for ordinary properties listed in one place. 

Ok, this is my final caveat - on Tuesday 22nd November the Dáil approved the Property Services (Regulation) Bill which will probably become law by Christmas. It will establish a public register that will provide details of residential property sale prices. Predictions are that such a service may have information on 2010 and 2011 sales by June 2012.

The results for the Allsop and Space auction on Wednesday 30th November 2011 can be seen here

The Twitter quote is from @mcgconor