Co Antrim's Downton Abbey snapped up for a bargain £307,000
Country pile in Stranocum star of £3.3m property auction
You could have just about acquired a well-located apartment in Belfast for £350,000 at the height of the property boom.
But, yesterday, one lucky buyer walked away with one of Northern Ireland's finest Georgian country residences for significantly less than that.
Stranocum Hall - a magnificent Downton Abbey-style stately home in Co Antrim - was sold at auction for £307,500.
It was one of 50 properties and land that went under the hammer in two hours at Belfast's Europa Hotel generating sales in excess of £3m.
Chartered surveyor Ian Harbinson, who is also an associate director at Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH), said it was the catch of the day.
"Getting Stranocum Hall for just £7,500 over the asking price was definitely a huge bargain," he said.
"That property would have been worth double in 2007, and I doubt you could build it for £310,000 today."
The fine Georgian residence is one of the most splendid properties in Co Antrim.
Its elevated rural setting a short distance from the village provides uninterrupted views over the River Bush Valley and miles of surrounding countryside.
Situated on Fivey Road, Stranocum Hall was fully restored 17 years ago, and also benefits from the possibility of using the coachman's house as a detached residence.
Mr Harbinson added that it was one of the most impressive offerings LSH has brought to auction to date.
More than 300 people turned up yesterday to see 37 successful property and land deals raise a collective £3,314,600.
Seven were bought at the maximum reserve price indicated in the catalogue, while just one - a property in Co Down - was purchased for £5,000 less.
And while 13 lots listed in the portfolio weren't sold, 20 catalogue entries fetched over the asking price.
Head of auctions at LSH, Daphne Mahon, said it had been a successful day.
"We were happy to see a number of lots selling for well in excess of their reserve price," she said.
"In particular, a property in a prime location on Malone Avenue, former Annsborough Mill and a property on Dundrum Road all generated a level of interest higher than anticipated.
"We were also delighted to offer Stranocum Hall, a beautiful period property in the countryside, which sold for £307,500.
"Potential buyers were also active on the telephones, with someone bidding from the Middle East and buying a property."
One of the most sought-after properties up for grabs was a former mill at Annsborough, Co Down.
It generated a massive raft of local interest, according to LSH, the auction organisers, attracting over five times the asking price.
The successful bidder paid out a staggering £182,000 when a rather more modest maximum reserve of £35,000 was indicated in the brochure.
Another bargain was snapped up in the form of the former Shannagh Care Home in Belleek, for which the new owner paid £105,000.
"I expected there to be a lot more interest in that property," said Mr Harbinson, after it sold for just £15,000 over the asking price.
Residential property comprising three one-bedroom apartments at Malone Avenue - a prime location in Belfast - was sold for £135,000, £60,000 above the price requested.
Meanwhile, a mix of residential and commercial property at Dundrum Road in Newcastle netted £187,500 - £62,500 more than the reserve price.
The only catalogue entry that went for less than its maximum reserve was property at Moneyslane Road in Co Down.
Comprising a former pub, retail units, a detached house and flat, it was sold to a lucky bidder for £5,000 less than its £145,000 asking price.