Irish house prices return to 2007 highs for the first time

FILE PHOTO: Construction site during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Galway

Prices have made a strong comeback since they started rising a decade ago, and four years after a bubble burst, values ​​were halved. According to the Central Statistics Office, they are now 123% above their 2013 lows as Ireland recovers from the international bailout.

The central bank, which has implemented some of the eurozone’s toughest restrictions on mortgage lending, said in its November 2021 assessment that prices were expected to remain at the same level based on economic fundamentals rather than income growth.

Home prices have risen sharply since then, rising 14.1% year-over-year in June from 14.4% in May, cooling slightly for the third month in a row. The 1.2% monthly growth was the highest since the end of last year.

But the system remains “much safer” than before, said Dermot O’Leary, chief economist at Goodbody stockbrokers.

“Macroprudential rules are a critical distinguishing feature,” he said, pointing to regulations that limit mortgage lending to 3.5 times a borrower’s gross income.

Buyers must have at least a 10% deposit, while 100% mortgages were offered during the Celtic Tiger boom, which ended in the eurozone’s costliest bank bailout.

Mortgage levies, which stood at a steady €40 billion in 2006, have increased at a more modest rate and reached €10.5 billion last year. The country’s banking sector, which is much smaller, is also better capitalized.

However, buying a home is out of reach for many people.

While Ireland built too many homes in the wrong places in the 2000s, supply has consistently fallen short of demand and rents have long risen above their previous peaks, limiting the ability of potential buyers to save for investment.

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Daft.ie, Ireland’s leading residential property listing site, had just 716 rental properties for a population of 5.1 million at the start of August.

“Just because the fundamentals are supportive is not necessarily a healthy outcome or the outcome you want as a policymaker,” said Ronan Lyons, assistant professor of economics at Trinity College Dublin, who analyzed Daft’s data.

“For the supply we have, the prices we have. If more housing was built, it would be different.”

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