Residential sales increase by 14%

The volume of residential property sales jumped by 14%, on a year-on-year basis, during the first quarter of the year, according to a new study.

The latest Housing Market Monitor, from the Irish Banking Federation, has suggested signs of a slight recovery in the market; with “renewed buyer confidence” and a continued stabilisation in prices evident.

Despite the 14% increase in housing transactions — with 4,450 sales registered compared with 3,900 in the same period last year — the number of properties listed for sale actually fell by 15%, from 9,700 to 8,200 and the number of new houses built fell, again on an annualised basis, by 12% to 1,700.

That said, however, there was a recovery in building starts — with 20% more, to nearly 1,000, commenced. But, according to Goodbody Stockbrokers’ chief economist, Dermot O’Leary, who provided commentary to the IBF study, nationally there remains an oversupply of housing units, but “it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a shortage of the appropriate family homes in the capital”.

Indeed, in terms of the overall increase in property transactions, Dublin showed the weakest annualised growth, up by only 9%; while the strongest (26%) was evident in the Connacht-Ulster region.

Mr O’Leary also commented on house prices, noting “increasingly divergent price trends evident across the country, with Dublin returning to annual growth for the first time in over half a decade”.

“However,” he added, “a concern would be that prices are rising predominantly because of a lack of available supply.”

The 14% increase in transactions, despite a fall in mortgage draw-downs, could be a sign of unavailable credit from the banks or a suggestion that buyers are more willing to invest their cash in the property market, “given the superior returns relative to ever-shrinking deposit rates in the banks”.

“Either way, it is a vote of confidence that buyers are willing to dip their toes into the Irish housing market at current valuations,” he said.


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