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News : Property Last Updated: Apr 30, 2014 - 6:15 PM

Irish House Prices 2014: National prices up 7.8% in year to March; Dublin up 14.3%
By Finfacts Team
Apr 30, 2014 - 4:13 PM

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Irish House Prices 2014:  In the year to March, residential property prices at a national level, increased by 7.8%.  This compares with an increase of 8.1% in February and a decrease of  3.0% recorded in the twelve months to March 2013. Dublin prices are up by 14.3% in the 12 months.

The CSO said Wednesday that national residential property prices fell  by 0.7% in the month of March. This compares with an increase  of 0.1% recorded in February and a decrease of 0.5% recorded in March of last year.

In Dublin residential property prices remained unchanged  in March and were 14.3% higher than a year ago.  Dublin house prices rose  by 0.3% in the month and were 14.3% higher compared to a year earlier. Dublin apartment prices were 16.6% higher when compared with the same month of 2013.  However, the CSO said it should be noted that the sub-indices for apartments are based on low volumes of observed transactions and consequently suffer from greater volatility than other series.

The price of residential properties in the Rest of Ireland (i.e. excluding Dublin) fell by 1.6% in March compared with a decrease of 0.3% in March of last year.  Prices were 2.9% higher than in March 2013.

Overall Decline: House prices in Dublin are 48.3% lower than at their highest level in early 2007. Apartments in Dublin are 55.4% lower than they were in February 2007. Residential property prices in Dublin are 50.0% lower than at their highest level in February 2007. The fall in the price of residential properties in the Rest of Ireland is somewhat lower at 47.2%. Overall, the national index is 47.0% lower than its highest level in 2007.

Conall Mac Coille, chief economist at Davy, commented - - "Today’s residential property price data suggest that house prices are falling back in Q1 2014. House prices fell 0.8% in March, up 7.6% on the year. Overall, house prices declined by 0.5% in Q1 2014 following a 3.7% rise in Q4 2013. So there appears to have been some slowdown in the rate of house price inflation.

One possibility is that the end of property tax exemptions towards end-2013 pushed up prices and transactions temporarily. Indeed, our analysis of the Property Price Register shows that 10,600, or 36%, of transactions in 2013 occurred in the final quarter of the year. There were 6,304 transactions in Q1 2014, up 30% from the 4,852 in Q1 2013.

However, Q1 transactions represented just 1.3% of the housing stock. The bigger picture is that housing market activity remains at exceptionally low levels, indicative of the lack of new housing supply and construction activity. This is bad news for Irish banks struggling to stabilise mortgage lending and competing for new business."

Property Industry Ireland (PII), a unit of Ibec, welcomed the annual improvement in house-prices, but warned that much of the growth, particularly in Dublin, points to continued problems supplying properties into the market. The group said that while annual price increases point to a recovery in the economy, they also highlight that in some areas too many people are chasing too few properties.

Dr Peter Stafford, PII director, highlighted the need to radically improve the data collected on property market trends and transactions: "Without quality data it is very difficult to plan for the future and we risk repeating the mistakes of the past.

Data underpinning today’s CSO index comes only from properties purchased with a mortgage, thereby excluding over 40% of all transactions every month. During a period of very low numbers of transactions, excluding 40% of all market activity makes it difficult for anyone, whether purchaser or vendor, to get a informed understating of price trends in a particular locality.

“The purpose of producing a monthly index of property prices was to bring some much-needed transparency to the residential property market. It is well recognised that a pre-requisite to a functioning market is transparency. Instead, because the CSO data is based on an incomplete analysis of the market, and is not easily understandable, many people remain confused about what is happening to prices around the country.”

Property Industry Ireland has called for a National Property Strategy to underpin a return to stability in what continues to be an incredibly volatile market. A key part of that strategy is the need to put in place a unified, central repository of all market information collected by a dedicated State agency and disseminated in a way which is clearly understandable.

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