Irish house prices rose again in July according to the latest data, marking the second monthly rise in 3 months, and reawakening hopes that the Irish property market may finally be finding a bottom. These hopes are certainly helped by looking at the annual data, which shows the rate of decline consistently slowing since a high of 17.8% in February, down to 16.3% and 16.4% in March then April, down to 15.3% in May and 14.4% in June. House prices were down 13.6% year on year in July.
Unfortunately, the monthly data is less attractive. Sure, house prices have grown in 2 out of the last 3 months, but May and July's month on month growth of 0.2% both times came nowhere close to absorbing the 1.1% decline recorded between them in June. In fact, it is quite eerie the consistency in the data, from a 1.1% month on month decline in April, to a 0.2% growth in May and then the same again for the next two months (a 1.1% decline in June to a 0.2% growth in July).
However, while the changes from month to month are sharp, in the last 3 months prices have fallen just 0.7%, making it the best quarterly performance in at least the past year, but possibly since the crisis began. The CSO only holds its archive since the beginning of last year. Between January and March prices fell 4.5% (-1%, -1.7% and -1.7%), between April and June prices fell 4.3% (-1%, -1.2% and -2.1%), between July and September prices fell 3.9% (-0.8%, -1.6% and -1.5%). and between October and December prices fell 5.4% (-2.2%, -1.5% and -1.7%), then this year between January and March we have a decline of 4.1% (-1.9%, -2.2% and 0%) and finally between April and June we have a decline of just 2% (-1.1%, +0.2% and -1.1%), and the same for the last 3 months ending July.
With quarterly data and annual date showing a picture of a market possibly stabilising, we can indeed be a little more hopeful that the Irish bottom is either here or close. As most investors will attest, if you wait for the official bottom you will have waited to long, so it is likely that savvy investors are already scouring the Irish countryside looking for bargain properties to bag them a profit as the market turns.
- Tuesday 11 September 2012