THERE was a drop of over one third in new mortgages in the first quarter of the year — despite more than €1.2 billion worth of loans being given to 7,000 first-time buyers in the first three months of 2010.
Figures from the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and the Marketing Institute of Ireland (MII) show that the national housing market is continuing to struggle with the economic crisis.
The figures show that between January and March this year, 7,000 new mortgages valued at €1.22bn were issued.
This was down 30% on the level witnessed between October and December 2009 and down 36.8% year-on-year.
While first-time buyers remain the strongest segment of the market, with their 1.2% year-on-year decline the smallest reported, they remain the largest segment of the market by volume (33.5%) and value (38.5%).
Average house prices are also continuing to fall, with a 3.4% average national drop per home.
However, despite the ongoing national market slowdown, the consumer market monitor report has hinted at the start of a potential recovery.
According to the jointly released study, new data from www.myhome.ie has shown a three-fold increase in the number of “sale agreed” second-hand residential properties in January to February 2010 compared with the same month last year.
During this two-month period, a total of 658 properties went sale agreed in Dublin compared with just over 200 in the same period a year earlier.
While the property market continues to struggle, green shoots of recovery have been identified by the joint UCD-Marketing Institute of Ireland consumer monitoring report in other parts of the economy.
According to the document, the decline in the consumer sector — which accounts for 63% of Ireland’s gross national product (GNP) — halved between June 2009 and June 2010, leading to predictions of a projected growth of 1.1% by 2011.
A number of retail sectors experienced a welcome rise in sales between April and June this year, including department stores (up 7.4%), furniture and lighting (up 19.5%), electrical goods (up 0.5%), food stores (up 2.6%) and hardware (up 6.5%). However, newsagents (down 6.6%) and pubs (down 13.2%) are still facing the full impact of the recession, according to the report.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved