Block purchases on the PPR

I ran an analysis of “block purchases” on the Property Price Register. I picked – completely arbitrarily – blocks of more than five properties registered on the PPR on the same day in the same development. The matching algorithm was very naive: any four alphabetic words common to two addresses were considered a match. It turned out to be very successful, at least in the sense that the number of false positives was negligible. I’ve provided all the data below, so you can form your own opinion.

The shitty quality of the PPR data reared its ugly head as usual. I weeded out some obvious bloopers, and left others as is. (Some details are given in the small print at the end). The results should thus be taken as indicative, rather than gospel truth. Life is too short to examine every entry in detail, and if our betters in Revenue and the PRSA had wanted us to have a register that could stand up to close scrutiny they’d have bothered their holes to provide one.

What’s immediately clear is that bulk purchases have taken off like a rocket in the last two years. Since the start of 2014, nearly a billion euro has changed hands on blocks larger than five properties. Indeed, given the style of some entries on the PPR, it looks highly likely that there are block purchases appearing as single entries which would not have been picked up in my analysis. So the volumes below are probably understated. Here is the overview:

Even just a top twenty list of block purchases by value totals an eye-watering half billion euro. These include 216 apartments in Beacon South Quarter at €64m, the 189 apartments in Elm Park at €52m, another 189 at South Central, Sandyford for €47m, an incredible 235 apartments (and houses?) at Charlestown Centre, Finglas for €45m, 84 high-end apartments in Grand Canal Square for €40m, 210 apartments in the Alliance Building at The Gasworks for €35m, and 111 apartments in Bushy Park House, Terenure for €26m. That’s just seven block purchases totalling over €300m.

You can see summary and detail information in the following spreadsheet: … BE/pubhtml

The summary sheet gives sale date, average price per unit, total price, and first address in each block. The detail sheet lists individual property prices and addresses as shown on the PPR. I’ve cleaned up a couple of obvious PPR errors (see below) on the summary sheet in order to get correct totals, but not on the detail sheet. A “Top 22” sheet lists all the bulk purchases over €10m.

The copy of the PPR used was the latest as of now, last updated 23-Mar-2016. As such, it may not even fully cover the first two months of the year, which would put 2016 well on track to equal or exceed the value of block purchases in 2015.

**Bloopers corrected:

  • The 30-Jun-2010 sale of Lansdowne Gate in Drimnagh appears on the PPR as six sales at €7.73m each. The identical amounts seem to be the total for all the sales, but each of the six comprises multiple property sales, so this is actually 27 properties at an average price of ~€286k.
  • The 24-Jul-2014 sale of The Marker Residences in Grand Canal Square is listed as seven sales at €5.75m each. In fact each entry represents a block of twelve apartments, so this is actually 84 apartment sales at ~€480k each.

I corrected the above in the summary data, but there are still a number of head-scratchers that I’ve left as is:

  • Did someone really pay ~€388k each for student accommodation apartments at Greenpark (misspelled “Green Park” on the PPR) near Dundalk IT on 05-Feb-2010? It seems that yes, they did. Or, at least, it seems more plausible than a job lot of 19 apartments at €20k each, and there are no other sales to suggest the going price at the time. One can only surmise that this looked like a more sound investment in 2010 than it does in 2016.
  • On 20-Mar-2015 we see more student accommodation at Ballyraine Halls, Letterkenny, selling for up to €1m per unit. Although individual apartment addresses seem to be given, my best guess is that these are actually six apartment blocks (the correct number for the development) and that the total for all six of >€3m tallies with reports of the time.
  • I’ve no idea what to do with Cois na Mona, Oranmore listed on 27-Mar-2015. Each of the fourteen properties has one of two prices, both over €1m. The total is more than the whole development was worth according to the developer, but dividing by 14 gives an implausibly low number.

There are almost certainly other inconsistencies in the data. Any corrections I made on the summary sheet in the linked spreadsheet are not made on the detail sheet, which contains the original raw data.**

132 Apartments
8,000 each
1,056,000 total
1 Cloonlara Square, Phoenix Park Racecourse, Castleknock dublin

Here is the PPR

Date of Sale: 20/12/2013
Price: €8,000.00
Not Full Market Price: No
VAT Exclusive: Yes
Description of Property: New Dwelling house /Apartment
Property Size Desc.: greater than or equal to 38 sq metres and less than 125 sq metres

All these apartments were completed and market value would have been around 250k not 9k inc vat.

Can find very little online to explain that one. Was questioned over on where is was mentioned (without reference) that “Fingal County Council say that these sales were an internal transfer of ownership and that the prices were entered incorrectly into the database. They claim not to know the actual sale price…”. Also has a link back to the Pin where it was raised by yourself.

On 2015-11-19 nine very large houses in Farmleigh Woods, Castleknock sold for prices which are all below 412,000. On the same date 27 apartments in Alder Lodge, Beech Lodge, Maple Lodge and Willow Lodge, all in Farmleigh Woods are listed as having sold at prices ranging from 137,010 to 182,681. Clearly this was a block sale.
If these apartments and houses had been available to ordinary people trying to buy their own homes they would have fetched much higher prices. However if they were released on the open market it would make it impossible for small new build houses in nearby Fairhaven, Castleknock to sell at half a million upwards.


“19/11/2015”,“6 Farmleigh Avenue, Farmleigh Woods, Castleknock”,“Dublin 15”,“Dublin”,“€406,464.00”,“No”,“No”,“Second-Hand Dwelling house /Apartment”,“”
“19/11/2015”,“8 Farmleigh Avenue, Farmleigh Woods, Castleknock”,“”,“Dublin”,“€399,614.00”,“No”,“No”,“Second-Hand Dwelling house /Apartment”,“”
“19/11/2015”,“9 Farmleigh Avenue, Farmleigh Woods, Castleknock”,“Dublin 15”,“Dublin”,“€374,495.00”,“No”,“No”,“Second-Hand Dwelling house /Apartment”,“”

Those would be marketed for at least 800k as individual sales. Transfer of interest? Surely these should be marked as “Not full market price”?

edit: these Farmleigh Court ones would sell for around 750k, I’m sure one had a for sale sign outside recently

“19/11/2015”,“1 Farmleigh Court, Farmleigh Woods, Castleknock”,“”,“Dublin”,“€411,630.00”,“No”,“No”,“Second-Hand Dwelling house /Apartment”,“”
“19/11/2015”,“4 Farmleigh Court, Farmleigh Woods, Castleknock”,“Dublin 15”,“Dublin”,“€411,630.00”,“No”,“No”,“Second-Hand Dwelling house /Apartment”,“”
“19/11/2015”,“5 Farmleigh Court, Farmleigh Woods, Castleknock”,“Dublin 15”,“Dublin”,“€411,630.00”,“No”,“No”,“Second-Hand Dwelling house /Apartment”,“”

Yes. 1,4 and5 Farmleigh Court sold with almost a 50% discount on market value.

6 Farmleigh Court sold for 820,000 on 2016-03-15.

2 Farmleigh Court sold for 750,000 on 2010-04-22 as a new build.

The apartments would appear to have gone for similar discounts. A 2-bed in Willow Lodge is currently advertised for sale at €465k.

The block of 27 on the PPR went for between €130k-€180k.
How do we find out who bought them? - will cost a fiver to view the folio for one, however that will answer the question of who has bought them all. Don’t buy the folio until many months after a property has sold as it doesn’t get updated for ages and I’ve bought way too many only to be disappointed to find that it doesn’t show the new owner yet.

Also thanks for the analysis, great work as always!

It’s not all NAMA - though the bigger ones are. I see entries on there of blocks that we bought and that other people I know bought and they were bought from funds who bought loan books from banks and were selling off assets from the portfolios piecemeal. I’d guess that the smaller ones were bought mainly by private investors, especially given the CGT holiday that was available for years. Properties technically ‘pass hands’ multiple times, from the indebted owner to the bank’s special distressed asset vehicle, then to the fund, then maybe to another fund and eventually then on to the buyer. Only that last transaction tends to end up on the PPR as the other parties tend to just sell the loans from one to another, hence if you ever look at a folio from landdirect for some of these properties, you’ll likely see in ‘Part 3 - Burdens and Notices of Burdens’ a chronological sequence of legal charges by the various parties as the property gets passed around.

I have another theory. Some of these transactions could be a heavily indebted developer selling otherwise unencumbered assets to his wife to stop his bank registering judgement mortgages against them

Thanks a mil’ for the info. Will be interested to chase one or two of these on in a few months time. Forgive my ignorance and/or naivety, but how does a bunch of properties get sold for what looks like a third to a half of their market value? Did someone buy a distressed loan, perhaps back in 2011/12 when apartments might have sunk to less than half their boom time values? I presume there must have been some risk involved, otherwise why would the original owner of the loans sell them cheap? Even so, how does a transaction appear on the PPR just a few months ago?

Didn’t know you had joined the Indo’s data science team PS.

Something I’ve looked at before was taking the PPR total transactions in volume and amount, comparing it to the mortgage data TheJackal posts on mortgage draws in volume and amount. Apply some variable, maybe 20% for deposits and estimate the wall of cash that entered the market from 2010 to 2015.

I have it in rough form.

The image in my head of such a scene gives me a chuckle.
PS, sitting studiously at his desk, head down, deep in thought as his brain crunches the numbers and problem solves.
Positioned in the tight, windowless corner of the Indo basement because nobody quite knows what to do with him, while the rest of the building buzzes with the *real *news stories.
In-depth reporting
Critical analysis
Keepin’ it real

The sad reality is that if you go into any newsagents 90% of the content for sale is celebrity related shite. That is what people are interested in. This site is very peripheral.

Nah, sounds way too much like real work. By doing it for fun, nobody can call me to account if I screw it up. Mind you, their description of the process they followed sounds suspiciously familiar. Good to know people at the Indo are avid Pin readers. Gives one hope that they might stop printing such shite about the property market some day. :smiley:

Actually, that does sound quite like my last job. Apart from it was spacious and on the top floor, and the corner had floor to ceiling glass on both sides, and it definitely wasn’t the Indo. :smiley:

I wonder if Pinsters can throw any light on three transactions which appeared recently in the PPR. The three properties are on Leopardstown Road and the transactions were all registered on 22 October and for exactly the same amount, €1,800,000 each.

I can find no trace of properties by these names: Alhambra, Calador and Wellbrook.

I assume this is some off-market deal which totals €5.4M. but which is convenient to split into thirds, perhaps for tax reasons.

[Alhambra, Leopardstown Road, Dublin 18, Co. Dublin, Ireland ::: Irish Property Price Register]
(Alhambra, Leopardstown Road, Dublin 18, Co. Dublin, Ireland ::: Irish Property Price Register)

You can find them on Google maps - just search for the name and leopardstown and you’ll get them - they are two neighbouring houses opposite the entrance to the sunshine home. Calador looks like it has been considerably extended. You’re probably right about the tax thing - it may be 3 siblings inheriting or something like that. My guess is they have been sold as a job lot for redevelopment - it’s a big site if you add the two together.