Irish Residential Picture Continues to Improve - Slowly

The so-called credit-crunch was onomatopoeic in the case of Ireland; it chewed up the economy and property market and spit them out. But it has to be said that the Irish government dealt with the crash decisively and efficiently, perhaps more so than most...

The so-called credit-crunch was onomatopoeic in the case of Ireland; it chewed up the economy and property market and spit them out. But it has to be said that the Irish government dealt with the crash decisively and efficiently, perhaps more so than most and thanks to this the property market has seen a sustained period of recovery over the last few months.

According to the latest data there were 4,450 residential property transactions during the first quarter of 2013, up from 3,900 in Q1 2012, a year on year growth of 14.4%. This was the sixth consecutive quarterly year-over-year increase in volumes, according to the Irish Banking Federation's latest Housing Market Monitor. 

After falling 50 per cent from the 2007 peak a clear bottom can now be seen when you look at the statistics over the last 12-18 months. That said, conversely to the growth in transactions, mortgage approvals fell by 4 percent during the quarter compared to last year, this was the first drop in mortgage approvals since data was available in 2011, according to the Irish Times.  

"The most obvious reason for the divergent trends between mortgages and transactions is an increased incidence of cash purchases," Goodbody economist Dermot O'Leary told the Times.  

"While one interpretation of this may be that credit is not available in the banking system, another is that buyers are using cash to invest in the Irish property market given the superior returns relative to ever-shrinking deposit rates in the Irish banks," Mr O'Leary added.  

It may be some time before Ireland's housing market makes a full recovery as prices continue to fall, although at a slower pace.  

The Land and Property Services (LPS) and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) recently reported prices dropped six percent in the year up to March, making the average price in Northern Ireland £109,000, according to the Irish News. But that was considered good news, with prices sliding at a slower pace than the 13 percent drop in the previous year.

Read more on the Irish bailout and how it happened

- Thursday 30 May 2013

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