Irish House Prices 2014: In the year to September, residential property prices at a national level, increased by 15.0%. This compares with an increase of 14.9% in August and an increase of 3.6% recorded in the twelve months to September 2013. Price rises in Dublin eased to 23.4%.
The CSO reported today that residential property prices rose by 1.8% in the month of September. This compares with an increase of 2.3% recorded in August and an increase of 1.8% recorded in September of last year.
In Dublin residential property prices grew by 2.5% in September and were 23.4% higher than a year ago. Dublin house prices rose by 2.4% in the month and were 22.6% higher compared to a year earlier. Dublin apartment prices were 35.2% higher when compared with the same month of 2013. However, the CSO said that 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) rose by 1.1% in September compared with a decrease of 0.1% in September of last year. Prices were 7.0% higher than in September 2013.
Overall Decline: House prices in Dublin are 37.7% lower than at their highest level in early 2007. Apartments in Dublin are 44.2% lower than they were in February 2007. Residential property prices in Dublin are 39.6% lower than at their highest level in February 2007. The price of residential properties in the Rest of Ireland is 44.0% lower than their highest level in September 2007. Overall, the national index is 39.9% lower than its highest level in 2007.
A slow-down in the rate of house price growth in Dublin may represent the beginning of a new phase of more moderate growth according to property consultants Savills. The latest CSO data show that prices in Dublin rose by 23.4% in the 12 months to September – a slowdown from 25.1% last month.
Commenting on the figures Dr John McCartney, director of Research at Savills Ireland, cautioned against reading too much into one month’s data and noted that the overall rate of house price growth remains very high. However, he highlighted a multitude of factors that are now working to dampen the rate of house price growth. In the short term, these include:
- Reduced cash-sales as much of the boom-time ‘mattress money’ has been spent;
- Tighter bank lending with further restrictions to come;
- Gradual scaling-back of investor demand due to lower yields;
- Withdrawal of CGT incentives which allowed some investors to pay more.
In the longer term, McCartney says that recent policy changes should also stimulate new housing development which will further help to control excessive price growth.
Property Industry Ireland, a unit of Ibec, which represents businesses in the construction and property sector, called for a joined-up policy response across all government departments, and the Central Bank to help improve availability of affordable property and moderate house price growth in urban areas.
Responding to today's CSO figures, Dr Peter Stafford, PII director, said: "Property prices across Ireland have fragmented, we now have an urban property market which is performing in a completely different way to the market in rural areas. In Dublin, prices have grown by 23.4% in the last year, while elsewhere they have increased by 7%. The Central Bank, the Department of Finance and the Department of Environment have all made announcements recently about how to tackle increasing prices and declining affordability. They need to work together to create a National Property Strategy to respond to this divergence, and put the market on an even keel."
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Conall Mac Coille, chief economist at Davy, said: "September’s 15% annual rise may be close to the peak in Irish residential property price inflation. Substantial monthly increases in house prices began in late 2013, which will limit any further rise in the annual rate of change. Also, the end of capital gains tax exemptions and new Central Bank rules to limit highly leveraged mortgage lending could lead to a welcome slowdown in Irish house price inflation. Our analysis has shown that Irish house prices, close to €180,000 on average, are 5x the average income of €36,000 – slightly above similar UK multiples of 4.9x.
Hopefully, as cash buyers exit the market as capital gains tax exemptions end, first-time-buyers (FTBs) will have a greater chance of securing property, helping current weak levels of mortgage lending. Also, the proposed Central Bank rules could limit buy-to-let (BTL) demand – specifically, limiting BTL mortgages with loan-to-values in excess of 70% to just 10% of new lending. Again, this could help FTBs to enter the market.
Unfortunately, September’s price data are too early to discern any noticeable impact from Central Bank proposals to limit highly leveraged mortgage lending. It may be that the new rules, coupled with the end of capital gains tax exemptions, lead to transactions being rushed before the end of 2014, helping liquidity temporarily. But it is too early to gauge any negative impact on prices from higher levels of transactions. In the year to September, there have been 26,247 residential property transactions, up 37% on last year but still representing only 1.75% of the housing stock – suggesting that the average property is sold once every 57 years. So, for now, the housing market remains exceptionally illiquid."