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:
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.
- 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.**