By Harry Keaney
Hardly a week now goes by in Ireland without news of a property sale reinforcing the point that prices are continuing to rocket. For example, it emerged this week that in south Connemara, Co. Galway, a quarter acre was sold for _155,000. The small plot of land is located three miles from Roundstone, with a panoramic view of the sea.
Galway auctioneer Ray Rooney handled the sale. More than 100 people attended the auction and interest was even expressed through Rooney’s web site from as far as Australia. Bidding opened at _50,000 and, in the end, the property was bought in trust by Galway attorney Michael Molly.
The price of the land was put in context when Rooney said it represents a price of more than _600,000 an acre.
In the Dublin area, new house prices have increased by almost 34 percent in the last 12 months to the end of March, according to new figures from the department of the Environment.
Last week, a detached five-bedroom house on half an acre at Temple Road in Dartry, Dublin, sold for _2.2 million. The price was $700,000 more than the guide price of _1.5 million.
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The average price for houses for which loans were approved in the first quarter was _112,401 compared to an average of just more than _94,000 during 1997.
On average, house prices rose by almost 25 percent last year.
The Irish central bank has said it will take a serious view of any bank or building society that tries to increase the amount it lends to mortgage buyers. The central bank is worried that an increase in the amount which banks lend out as a percentage of borrowers’ salaries could eventually lead to repossessions, creating a scenario like that which happened in London in the 1980s. Several banks and building societies favor increasing the borrowing limits for those on high salaries, particularly since low interest rates seem set to continue.
Meanwhile, the office of the revenue commissioners has warned that it will be closely inspecting all home purchases that took place in April to ensure that none are evading new rules on taxation and stamp duty by backdating contracts.
Compo culture continues
Irish culture is going through a huge renaissance. And so too is compo culture, it seems. Personal injury claims have cost local authorities in Ireland _100 million in the last five years and is expected to cost the state another _120 million by the end of 2002. The figures were obtained by the Sunday Tribune newspaper. This does not take into account the massive amounts paid out by motor insurance and other insurance companies.
New Roscommon hotel
A _12 million 150-bedroom hotel development being planned at the Lough Key Forest Park in Boyle, Co. Roscommon, by Ireland’s forestry authority, Coillte Teoranta, will be constructed within the next 18 months, the Roscommon Herald reported last week. The scenic forest park had been the site for a proposed hotel and leisure complex by the New York-based Rockfield Corporation headed by former Tara Circle president Ed Sheeran. Planning permission for the Coillte Teoranta’s project will be lodged with Roscommon County Council during the summer.
New ESAT stock offering
ESAT Telecom, a leading telecommunications provider in Ireland, is raising more than $40 million through a new share issue. The exact price of this secondary offering will be struck in the week beginning June 22 and will follow a roadshow to Irish, American and European investors. The offering of 6 million shares is being underwritten, according to the Irish Times, by Davy Stockbrokers and CSFB for the Irish and European offering, and by CSFB, Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette and Cowen & Company in the U.S. and Canada.
Pricey Yeats painting
_881,500 sterling was paid last week for a painting entitled “Oh, Had I the Wings of a Swallow” by Jack B. Yeats, according to a spokeswoman at Sotheby’s auction house in London. He painted the picture in 1925.