The cost of an average three-bedroom semi has remained static nationwide since the start of the year while property prices in Dublin have fallen by an average of €7,500 over the same period.
The latest REA Average House Price Survey indicates that the strict Central Bank mortgage finance rules are beginning to affect the sale of average second-hand homes.
The average semi-detached house nationally now costs €235,898 – a fall of 0.16% on the Q4 2018 figure of €236,287.
Prices remained static in the city areas of Cork, Limerick and Galway but bucking the trend was Longford, where prices rose by 9.5% in the first three months of the year. Local agents say this is due to investment in the huge Center Parcs scheme.
Affordability is also a factor in Longford where the average semi-d still costs only €95,000 while the same home would fetch €440,000 in the Dublin metropolitan area.
Other trends show the lengthening of time it now takes to sell a house and difficulties in getting a mortgage.
REA spokesman Barry McDonald said:
“We are seeing an appreciable drop in people attaining mortgage approval – particularly for properties above €350,000 – which is creating a ceiling that is stifling the market. There are essentially two markets – people who have to buy and people who can choose to move. The first set of buyers are purchasing properties under €350,000, but the latter are either cautious about values and interest rates post-Brexit and are adopting a wait-and-see approach, or cannot secure mortgage approval."
Anthony McGee of REA McGee in Tallaght is reporting a large fall in the amount of mortgage approvals in Dublin 24 – an area which is considered a good indicator of the capital’s market: “I have seen a 50% reduction in the amount of finance-approved buyers at viewings in the past year, with the effect amplified at the end of 2018 and in the opening three months of 2019."
“The demand is there – and it is not being diluted by new homes – but there are fewer people securing finance, despite a lot of activity from the lending institutions," said Mr McGee.
Cork city prices were static in the first three months of this year, the REA Average House Price Survey found. The price of the average three-bed semi in Cork City rose by 0.8% to €317,500 in the past year.
“We have seen a sluggish start to the year. The demand for three bed semi-detached properties in mature and popular residential areas is being met with a limited supply,” said Michael O’Donoghue of O’Donoghue & Clarke, Cork.
“We are also seeing knock-on effects from Central Bank lending regulations, which both keeps a lid on prices and has seen properties taking 10weeks to reach 'sale agreed'.” The price of the average three-bed semi in County Cork rose by 1.4% in the first three months of the year according to the survey.
County Cork prices rose by 10.9% to €168,500 in the past year. “We are experiencing a significant shortage of supply. This is driving increased competition for new properties on the market, which we anticipate will appreciate prices further,” said Sarah O’Keefe of REA O’Keefe in Charleville.
Properties elsewhere in the county have also seen appreciation, with REA Celtic Properties Bantry seeing a 13.14% increase over the past year. An average three-bed semi in the Bantry area is currently priced at €198,000 and is remaining on the market for 14 weeks, which is an increase from 10 weeks this time last year.
The price of the average three-bed semi by county:
€190,000 - Clare
€168,500 - Cork County
€317,500 - Cork City
€322,500 - North Co Dublin
€403,500 - South Co Dublin
€437,500 - Dublin City
€160,000 - Galway County
€282,500- Galway City
€222,500 - Kerry
€276,500 - Kildare
€160,000 - Limerick County
€200,000 - Limerick City
€115,000 - Longford
€167,375 - Tipperary
€176,500 - Waterford County
€210,000 - Waterford City
€190,000 - Westmeath
€185,000 - Wexford
€289,000 - Wicklow
Property prices have dropped by around €7,500 in Dublin in the first three months of the year.
That is according to the REA Average House Price Index for Quarter One.
The average house prices across the country rose by 2.9% over the past year, a drop on the 4.6% recorded to December.
The average semi-detached house now costs around €235,000.
REA spokesperson Barry McDonald says Brexit is having an impact on prices in Dublin.
"Certainly, there's a lot of uncertainty around the whole Brexit question and that will continue on for quite a while by the looks of things," said Mr McDonald.
"There is concern about interest rates. They're at a low level but there's probably only one direction they will go in time and there's certain concerns as to when that would happen.
"But also in Dublin, you are looking at an average house price of €437,000 so as a result, you're up into higher levels."