Rush for bargain apartments

A Westmeath apartment development has bucked Ireland’s property slump and attracted queues of interested buyers. In scenes not seen since before the sensational property market crash, more than 1,000 mostly first-time buyers recently lined up outside a new apartment block at Irishtown in Mullingar, County Westmeath in the hope of snapping up one of the first 28 units.

But such was the demand that the auctioneer had to release a further 18 apartments which were all bought in the space of 48 hours.

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Tailteann Court apartment block first hit the headlines when it was revealed the apartments could be purchased for as little as €70,000.

The bargain price had the right affect and attracted eager buyers from far and wide.

“It just goes to show you, if the thing is priced right it will sell,” auctioneer Aidan Davitt said.

As well as the one-bed units, there were two-bed apartments on sale at €82,450 and three-bed units at €98,000. All are exempt from stamp duty, which applies to properties priced at over €127,000.

“Even at the height of it (the economic boom) I haven’t seen people so interested and as keen to get on the property ladder, not in my 20 years of auctioneering. It has been incredible, we never could have envisaged such a rush,” Davitt said.

While some investors are still looking to property, an estimated 60 percent of the buyers in Mullingar were looking to get on the property ladder for the first time.

National Irish Bank appointed a receiver to the 63-unit Tailteann Court apartment block before its developer had sold a single unit.

The apartments were built with the expectation they would fetch prices of up to €202,000.

In an effort to recoup some of the €7.8 million owed to NIB, the receiver is selling the units at prices discounted by more than 60 percent. The remaining 15 Tailteann Court apartments are due to go sale in the coming months.