House prices up as market shows signs of stabilising
AVERAGE house prices rose across the country in the first six months of the year signalling the market has begun to stabilise nationally.
The latest barometer of house prices by estate agents Sherry FitzGerald show estimated selling prices rose 3.6pc in the first half of the year on average, and by 6.1pc in Dublin.
However, while there was stability, the company warned that there remained several issues of concern.
Marian Finnegan, chief economist and director of research at Sherry FitzGerald, said sales remained incredibly low by both international and historical standards at 1.4pc last year.
"The market is recovering on the back of short supply around the country, and the pick-up in activity.
"Albeit it that it's not back to normal levels, it is generating an uplift in prices," Ms Finnegan said.
The report states that the stability in the housing market which emerged in Dublin last year is gradually spreading to other urban centres, which is helping drive the rise in prices.
Overall the Dublin market has increased 10.9pc over the last year, while the Irish market has increased by 5.2pc in the same period, the study said.
Calculations based on figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that the average price of a property nationwide last month was about €156,000.
Key findings include:
* Dublin had the strongest performance at 1.8pc, while Monaghan had the lowest at 0.8pc.
* 44pc of the properties sold in the first three months of this year were bought outright with cash.
* 31pc of those who sold their property through Sherry FitzGerald were selling investment properties, while 13pc of buyers were investors.
* One in five properties bought in the first six months of the year were bought by first-time buyers, down from 29pc in the same period last year.
Sherry FitzGerald said it was largely expected that investor demand would continue to improve as investors attempt to benefit from the capital gains tax incentive in place until the end of the year.
"That said, the owner-occupier market is also expected to remain strong as we are currently noticing a significant uplift in enquiries from households trading down, who now feel that the market is strong enough to allow them to sell effectively and facilitate this move," the report stated.
"All in all, it is anticipated that 2013 is to be a year of heightened activity and greater market stability."