The latest Property Price Report from the Central Statistics Office indicates the coronavirus pandemic had little impact on pricing in April, but the number of houses sold dropped by more than one-third in comparison to the previous month.
The full impact of the pandemic on the market could take much longer to be felt, with the April report including many transactions which were agreed months previously.
However, the number of sales has already been hit. Just 2,351 household dwelling purchases were filed with Revenue in the month of April, a 35% decline when compared to March. This looks to be carrying into subsequent months, too. The Property Price Register for May, which is not yet complete, shows fewer than 2,000 transactions completed at the time of writing.
The total value of transactions filed in April was €659 million; significantly lower than the €1 billion total values reported in January and March.
On a month-to-month basis, prices have shown minimal difference so far. Prices are up 0.5% in April in comparison to the same month a year previous, and they fell by 0.2% from March to April of this year.
The report shows that the median price paid for a home was €260,000. Outside Dublin, prices increased by 1.1% in the last 12 months. The national index is now 18.1% lower than the peak in 2007, and 82.6% higher than the low point in early 2013.
The CSO also breaks pricing down by Eircode, with all five of the most expensive Eircode zones in Dublin. Outside the Dublin commuter region, Kinsale (€345,000), Ballincollig (€315,000), Carrigaline (€310,000) and the southside of Cork city (€292,500) are the most expensive places to buy.
The longer-term impact of the coronavirus is likely to emerge in the coming months, though.
The ESRI has forecast a fall of up to 12% over the next 18 months, though it also anticipates a rapid bounce back after this period.
Bank of Ireland chief executive Francesca McDonagh has said that such a fall "seems a reasonable" expectation, adding that the appetite for borrowing could be particularly badly hit in the second and third quarter of 2020.
Earlier this week, the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), the banking sector lobby group, said housing supply could be significantly hit by the construction lockdown, with 10,000 to 12,000 fewer homes likely to be built this year, but it also predicted that demand for new homes would hold up as many of those reliant on the government's Covid-19 social welfare schemes are lower income earners.
Responding to the latest CSO figures, Brokers Ireland director of financial services Rachel McGovern warned "those in lower income sectors" will be hit most severely.
She said the pandemic is likely to exacerbate an already difficult situation for the lower income cohorts.
"Ways must be found to build homes more cheaply and in this regard all hopes will be pinned on the next Government," she said.