NAMA chairman Frank Daly has declared that the property crash has ended and the housing market has moved on to a new phase.
Mr Daly, who heads the bad bank which now controls Ireland's largest property portfolio, believes it is inevitable that price rises in certain parts of Dublin and Cork will filter down to the rest of the country where the market remains flat.
Speaking at a breakfast meeting in Cork, the normally cautious Mr Daly said that both residential and commercial property has moved to "a different phase", adding: "There is evidence that we have reached the bottom and are beginning to move up."
But he warned that the recovery had not reached all areas yet.
"It is not homogeneous. It's happening quicker in Dublin and certain areas of Dublin and in places like Cork (but) it will drift down. That's both in the residential and the commercial areas," he said.
Mr Daly believes that one of the reasons for the recovery is that buyers are confident that the bottom of the market has been reached.
"Home buyers now have confidence that they are not going into negative equity the day they buy a property."
Mr Daly's comments came on the day research revealed that UK cash buyers are snapping up houses here, targeting luxury detached, rural homes built in the Celtic Tiger era.
Although many of the buyers are Irish emigrants planning a retirement bolthole, there are more and more UK nationals buying houses here.
Irish property sales to UK-based purchasers boomed last year, with one national estate agency group reporting a 39pc increase in business over 2012.
A major survey by Real Estate Alliance found that 20pc of their overall enquiries come from across the Irish Sea. And 13pc of completed sales are now to buyers based in the UK.
The average property price in Ireland is now €157,000 compared to €211,000 in the UK. That price differential is driving demand, especially among those with ready cash.
Philip Farrell, Real Estate Alliance CEO, said: "A survey of our agents found that 87pc of UK clients are cash buyers, with 75pc of enquiries to offices leading to completion of sales.
"These are figures unmatched in any other sector of the Irish property market," he said. "The survey has found that 84pc of the UK buyers are aged 50 and over with the majority living in London and the south east.
"We have found a large number of our enquiries come from Irish emigrants wishing to return, with over half of them buying homes for retirement."