Economist: Budget must prioritise housing support

Property prices continue to escalate around the country as Ireland’s housing crisis deepens.

Sherry FitzGerald's chief economist Marian Finnegan

More people are being squeezed out of the housing market every day and the additional load on the rental market means that those who can afford to pay are using an unacceptable amount of their disposable income to keep a roof over their heads.

Figures just released by Sherry FitzGerald, estimate that the average value of residential property in Ireland rose by 2.3% during the third quarter of 2017. This will bring growth in the year to date to 6.8%, compared to 4% in the same period last year.

Regional centres outside Dublin continued to experience what is described as “robust price growth”. In the first nine months of 2017, Galway prices increased by 6.4%, Cork recorded growth of 5.8%, with Limerick not far behind on 5.5%.

Sherry FitzGerald’s chief economist Marian Finnegan concluded that price inflation would continue to
accelerate until supply increased. She said there had been a slight increase in the volume of new dwelling transactions, albeit from a low base, which she saw as a “small step on the road to a more stable market”.

Price inflation in the Dublin market also cooled somewhat, mainly as a result of the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme.

The property stock available for sale remains critically low. The figure of 25,100 units in July 2017 represented just 1.3% of Ireland’s total private housing stock. In Dublin, it was at just 0.8%, an annual reduction of 13%.

Worryingly, the loss of buy-to-let properties from the market continued, with 33% of vendors in the market selling investment properties, while just 19% of investors entering the market were looking for properties to let out.

Finnegan said this continued outflow of investors needed to be addressed in the upcoming budget.

She concluded: “This housing crisis needs to be treated as a crisis, with significant Government intervention now needed to bring about stability.”


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