House prices in record nosedive to 2004 levels
Big hike in rate of decline last month
HOUSE prices fell by a record amount last month, with huge falls in property prices for first-time buyers.
New figures show the pace of house price declines picked up in April with a 2pc fall, the biggest monthly drop since the index started in 1996.
House prices are now down 20pc from their peak in February 2007, according to the latest house price index from Permanent TSB/ESRI.
Prices for first-time buyers fell by 4pc in April. The average price paid for a house in April this year was €248,640, some €62,438 lower than when prices peaked two years ago.
Average prices are down almost €13,000, or 5pc, from the figure at the end of last year.
Over the past year prices fell at an annual rate of 10.7pc in April, up from 10pc in March.
This brings prices back to levels not seen since the summer months in 2004. The peak, according to the index, was €311,078 in February 2007.
Permanent TSB's Niall O'Grady said: "This is the fastest rate of decline in national prices that we have seen to date since the index started in 1996.
"The particularly dramatic reduction in prices for first-time buyers reflects their reluctance to buy in a market that is still declining and where unsold properties are being reduced further."
House prices for first-time buyers dropped by 4.1pc in April from March.
The average price paid by a first-time buyer was €206,530, according to the index. Over the past year, prices for new buyers are down 17.4pc.
Prices for second-time buyers were down 0.8pc in the month, and 9.5pc in the past 12 months. The average price paid for a second-hand home in April was €283,200.
House prices in Dublin fell by 1.1pc in April, while the fall was 1.7pc for houses outside Dublin.
House prices in the commuter counties around the capital fell by 1.4pc in the month.
New house prices were down 2.6pc in the month, while prices of existing houses fell by 1.5pc.
The survey is based on the agreed sale price and is calculated using figures from mortgage drawdowns. The compilers point out that there may be a time lag between the time the sale price is agreed and when the mortgage is drawn down.
Figures released last week by the Irish Banking Federation showed that 2,356 first-time buyers took out a mortgage in the first three months of this year. This compares with 7,919 in the first quarter of 2007.