The property group Allsop Space is making a foray into the online world with its first online auction taking place tomorrow. 

Robert Hoban, director of auctions with Allsop Space, said it was the first time that the entire auction process, from bidding right through to the signing of contracts, would be conducted entirely online. "The concept of online property auctions is not new but we've produced digitally signed contracts which brings a new level of security for buyer and seller and you can conduct the entire process from the comfort of your own home," he said.

Allsop has been advertising 22 properties for the past few weeks with bidding opening tomorrow from 10am for 24 hours. "We'll close at 15 minute intervals. As it approaches closing time, if a bid comes in at the last half minute, it adds two minutes and gives the potential buyer a chance to counter-bid," Mr Hoban explains.

There has been a lot of interest in the process with 450 people having signed up by Friday.  "The whole point of this is to open up the process with ease of access and to have transparency. There's been a lot of frustration expressed by people about being underbidders on properties and concern about transparency because they weren't seeing other bids. Here you can see every bid that's being made and you can get the opportunity to counter it," Mr Hoban explains.

He denied that the move online was an attempt to avoid protests which have marred Allsop's public auctions in the past. "We've been working closely with the protest groups involved. We don't offer any properties that are either repossessed family homes or that have any legal dispute over them. We want to embrace the digital world and we want to explore ways of bringing transparency to the market," he concluded.

MORNING BRIEFS - There were hints yesterday that the International Monetary Fund could be about to downgrade its world economic outlook. Speaking at an event in France, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the fund was seeing a pick up in global activity but the momentum was less robust than expected. She did not hint at the extent of any downward revision, but she did estimate China's growth at around 7% compared to 7.5% in its April outlook. 
That outlook foresaw global growth of 3.6% this year rising to 3.9% next year.

*** A delegation from Argentina will travel to New York today to begin talks on avoiding a default at the end of the month. The country technically defaulted last week after it failed to reach agreement with a group of so-called hold-out investors who would not agree to a restructuring of Argentinean government debt, but it got a 30 day grace period. Buenos Aires defaulted on $93 billion of its debt 13 years ago. The bulk of its creditors agreed to a discount or haircut on what they were owed but the hold-outs won a court battle determining that they were entitled to full repayment.

*** The former Parkway Shopping Centre in Limerick is to undergo a €100m revamp if proposals by the Northern Ireland based developer, Suneil Sharma, get the go ahead. He has submitted proposals to Limerick City and County Council today to redevelop the site with the potential to create up to 1,500 full time jobs and more in construction. The derelict site on the main Dublin to Limerick road was mothballed in the early days of the property crash in 2007. Marks and Spencer have agreed to take a large space in the new scheme, which would be their largest store outside Dublin.

*** Economic sentiment among Irish investors is at a four-year high, according to an investment monitor carried out by RaboDirect. It says 82% of investors surveyed are now confident in the outlook for the Irish economy over the next three months. Four years ago, just 10% of Irish investors expressed confidence in the Irish economy. The majority today list stocks as their favourite asset class, but Irish property featured strongly.