Irish Residential Property Prices (February 2018)

• Residential property prices up 1.1% in the month and 13.0% in the year
• Dublin house prices up 12.3% on an annual basis
• House prices in Rest of Ireland up 13.1% year-on-year
• Overall residential property prices still down 21.8% from the “Celtic Tiger” peak

Property prices post annual rise of 13.0% in February, up from 12.0% in January

In the year to February, residential property prices (houses and apartments combined) at a national level increased by 13.0%, up from the revised annual increase of 12.0% (12.5%) posted in January, and the highest annual rise since May 2015.

In Dublin, residential property prices rose by 12.7% in the year to February. Dublin house prices increased 12.3% whereas apartments rose 14.5% in the same period. The highest house price growth in February was in Dublin City, at 14.2%. In contrast, the lowest price growth was once again in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, with house prices rising 9.6%, though still a significant amount.

Residential property prices in the Rest of Ireland (i.e. excluding Dublin) were 13.3% higher in the year to February. House prices in the Rest of Ireland rose 13.1% over the period. The Midland region showed the greatest price growth, with house prices increasing 14.8%. Conversely, the South-East region showed the least price growth, with house prices rising 8.6%. Apartment prices in the Rest of Ireland increased 14.6% in the same period.

Overall, the national index is still 21.8% lower than its highest level in 2007. Dublin residential property prices are 23.0% lower than their February 2007 peak, while residential property prices in the Rest of Ireland are 27.5% lower than their May 2007 peak. From the trough in early 2013, prices nationally have increased by 74.6%. Dublin residential property prices have risen 90.6% from their February 2012 low, while residential properties in the Rest of Ireland index have increased 66.7% from their lowest point, which was in May 2013.

As we’ve said on numerous occasions recently, prices are only going one way in the short-term until the supply issue is resolved. There are shades of the “Celtic Tiger” era regarding the property market at the moment, and we all know how that ended.

Housing has now overtaken Health as the main political “hot potato”, and the key focus in Budget 2018 was on measures/initiatives that should help alleviate the problems going forward, but unfortunately things won’t change overnight. But at least the Government has acknowledged that something dramatic needs to be done and sooner rather than later.

However, as we wait for the measures to come through, prices will continue to rise. We see house price growth staying in positive territory on a year-on-year basis for the foreseeable future, with the annual rate of increase now looking like it’s set to remain in double-digits for well into 2018 at least. The biggest rise this year is likely to come from outside the capital, with the asking price for houses in more expensive areas rising at a slower rate.

Changes to Central Bank rules mean that in more expensive areas, the trend of increasing house prices will not be as pronounced. Previously up to a fifth of mortgages were allowed to exceed a loan-to-income ratio of 3.5. But this is becoming even tighter in 2018 with only 10% of those trading up allowed to breach that rule. The allocation remains unchanged for first-time buyers. Dublin prices will be out of reach for more borrowers as a result, while in other areas where buyers will not need to borrow as much, prices will see stronger growth.

Residential Property Prices (Source: CSO)
S.A. Indices
(Jan 2005 = 100) Property Price Index % Change Month % Change Year House Price Index % Change Month % Change Year
2017 February 90.7 0.2 9.7 93.8 0.3 9.6
2017 December 100.8 0.5 12.1 103.9 0.3 11.7
2018 January 101.4 0.6 12.0 104.7 0.8 12.0
2018 February 102.5 1.1 13.0 105.7 1.0 12.7

Table 2.1: Household market transactions filed with Revenue
Month Volume Value (million) Median Price Mean Price
December 2017 4,344 €1,219.4 €240,000 €280,714
January 2018 3,583 €981.4 €234,000 €273,898
February 2018 3,102 €902.0 €235,000 €290,793
Source: CSO

Alan McQuaid (12/4/18)
Economist