Belfast Telegraph

Auctioneer puts bargain homes under hammer

By Margaret Canning

Sixty properties and sites - from a £10,000 plot in Co Tyrone to a £230,000 house off Belfast's leafy Malone Road - are to go under the hammer.

Wilsons Auctions will host the land and property sale this month and said more buyers and sellers were turning to auction houses in the present market.

Two repossessed, four-bedroomed houses next to each other on Piney Hills off the Malone Road have guide prices of £230,000 and £250,000 - down by more than one third on original asking prices with estate agents earlier this year.

Most of the lots have guide prices of £40,000 to £60,000. A four-bed house in Carmel Street in Belfast's Holylands area has a guide price of £90,000. A plot with a dilapidated dwelling known as Mouse Cottage in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, has a guide price of just £10,000.

A two bedroomed villa in Spain has a guide price of £95,000 while an apartment in the lakelands of Co Monaghan has a guide price of £20,000.

Property expert Professor Alastair Adair, who is also pro-vice chancellor of the University of Ulster, said the 60 lots were likely to be distressed properties which could not be disposed of through normal channels.

"In many cases the properties would need major refurbishment or may be no more than development sites."

And he said such auctions could hold more interest for developers and builders than ordinary house-hunters.

"One of the problems is that it's still quite difficult to obtain finance to buy or develop - therefore it will be developers or builders with cash who are buying them."

Not all builders or developers are suffering as a result of the property crash, which has seen values drop by 50% in some areas.

"Many took a more cautious approach," added Prof Adair.

Wilsons Auctions Group property manager Richard Bell said the auction process gave freedom to those wishing to sell quickly.

"Financial institutions now have a clearer understanding of market values and recognise that auctions provide them with an ideal solution.

"With the incredible value on offer, a property auction of this magnitude is unique to the Northern Ireland property market and is ideal for those looking to snap up 'buy to let' bargains."

The auction will be held at Wilsons Auctions, Mallusk, on September 22 at 7.30pm.

Commercial property agency Osborne King is holding an auction of 27 lots exactly one week later.