THE sun was beating down at one of the few public auctions held in County Limerick since Covid-19 arrived, but the bidding was even hotter.
Some laneways in Limerick city were being used last Friday afternoon for alfresco dining but Leader Lane was solely for those with an appetite for property.
GVM brought to the market 16.5 acres in Ballinagarde, Ballyneety and an adjoining bungalow in need of refurbishment.
GVM ensured privacy for the bidders by erecting signage and only allowing registered bidders in - after they sanitised their hands of course.
Around 20 were seated and socially distanced. At a table stood GVM Group Property Director Tom Crosse, flanked by son Paul and solicitor Geraldine Thornton.
“It is reminiscent of John B Keane’s The Field when the public auction was held in the middle of the village. Needs must from our point of view in terms of an outdoor event and I thank you for your cooperation. We are here to sell,” said Mr Crosse.
And sell he did. First up was the split level bungalow which Mr Crosse said is standing on a “truly spectacular site and while it needs some work you can make it the home of your dreams”.
He nearly had this reporter putting his hand in the air.
It started off at €200k and went up in bids of €5k. After a brief recess it went on the market and sold for €225k.
“Give that couple a round of applause and we wish them wealth, health and happiness,” said Mr Crosse.
Now it was time for the 16.5 acre field.
“The land speaks for itself. It is one of the finest fields I have walked and been asked to auction for many, many years in terms of land quality, location, frontage to two roads and site potential,” said Mr Crosse.
Bidding started at €175k and went up in bids of €5k. Barely a breath was drawn and it had gone to €300k. It was put on the market and five active bidders got stuck in again.
From €315k it went up in bids of €1k all the way to €337k. Mr Crosse dropped the gavel to bring an end to the bruising contest like a boxing referee waving his hands.
It is understood three were businessmen and two were from the farming community with a businessman winning the day. It works out at over €20k an acre.
After contracts had been signed and he had a chance to take a sip of water, Mr Crosse said the price of the field did exceed his expectations “but it is a classy field.
“It is a fantastic price and underpins the demand for good quality land in County Limerick. We considered an online auction and private treaty but ultimately with the easing of restrictions we decided to go with a public auction in the laneway to the rear of our office. It was a great success,” said Mr Crosse.
It is not known if the evening ended - with another nod to The Field - in a local hostelry...
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