New figures showing British house prices surged 11% as its economy fully reopens has raised concerns that house prices here will also be taking off soon, when the rollout of the Covid vaccines is completed this summer.
British prices rose 1.8% in April and climbed by 11% in the year, the most in nearly seven years, and prices look set to accelerate further, according to UK lender Nationwide.
Almost seven in 10 homeowners considering a move said they would be doing it even without the extension of a tax incentive, the lender said.
The double-digit annual price surge in Britain compares with the 3.7% annual house price rise in Ireland in March, CSO figures published in mid-May showed.
In Ireland, economists and estate agent experts predict prices will also rise as the Covid restrictions are lifted, but predict price hikes will be pegged back at between 3% to 5%, depending on location.
However, price rises could rise as high as 7% in cities in Munster, including in Cork and Limerick, according to one estate agency chief.
The Central Bank's mortgage lending rules are helping to keep a lid on prices by effectively rationing mortgages here.
They do this by limiting the size of loans by household income and by differentiating between first-time and second-time buyers, as well as by setting limits on the amount of mortgage-lending banks can loan out, by the regulator insisting on them offsetting capital.
Chief economist at Goodbody Dermot O'Leary said Irish house prices will rise by an average 5% this year, influenced by the same characteristics at play in Britain as the economic recovery from the Covid crisis gets under way.
The same trends of working from home, pent-up demand, and additional savings built up by those at work during the pandemic are also influencing the housing markets in both countries, he said.
The British housing market has performed "remarkably well" as new annual supply gets back to the 1980s level of 240,000 new homes.
British house building took a small hit in the past year, but housing starts have since picked up, and output will likely recover to pre-pandemic levels next year, Mr O'Leary said.
Covid "looks to have had a fairly fleeting impact on the supply picture", he said, after a surprisingly robust performance during the pandemic in Britain.
He said the British government, as is the case in Ireland, has long had a long policy of supporting demand with help-to-buy incentives.
It has, however, also set specific housebuilding targets for local authorities.
Sherry FitzGerald managing director of residential, Marian Finnegan, predicts that thanks to the Central Bank controls, prices in Ireland will rise between 3% and 5% this year, with Dublin prices increasing at the lower end of the range.
Ken MacDonald at Hooke and MacDonald forecasts that Irish prices will rise between 2% and 4%, with some marked regional differences. However, prices in cities such as Cork and Limerick may rise by as much as 7%, he said.
In Ireland, Mr MacDonald sees 25,000 housing units being built next year, up from last year's Covid-hit output of fewer than 20,000 new homes.
In Britain, the figures are the latest to show the scale of the surge in house prices which hit a new record high at an average of £242,832 (€282,287), according to UK lender Nationwide.
Bank of England deputy governor Dave Ramsden said in an interview there was a "risk that demand gets ahead of supply and that will lead to a more generalised pick-up in inflationary pressure".
"We are looking carefully at the housing market and a raft of real-term indicators," he told thenewspaper.