Property market recovery spreading past the capital
THE property market recovery is spreading outside of Dublin, with sales surging in most counties.
Research based on an analysis of the property price register shows that the number of property sales rose in 25 of the 26 counties last year.
Across the State, there were 29,772 property sales recorded in 2013, compared with 25,142 in 2012, an increase of 18pc.
There was also an increase in the amount of money spent on property in 21 counties, the research carried out by property website MyHome.ie found.
Dublin led the way in terms of property sales last year with over 10,000 transactions and €3.6bn spent.
The capital city accounts for over a third of overall sales, but the study shows that sales are increasing at a faster rate in a dozen other counties.
They include several counties in the main commuter belt, in the south east, as well as a number of counties in the border area where there had been poor sales in recent years.
Sales shot up in Leitrim, Cavan, Roscommon, Monaghan and Longford, even though many of these counties had sales coming off a low base.
In Leitrim, sales were up 57pc last year compared with the previous year.
Commuter belt counties Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Wicklow all showed a strong rise in sales, as did Waterford and Carlow.
Galway was the star performer in the west, recording sales growth of 32pc.
Laois was the only county where sales fell last year, dropping by 3pc. All but six other counties were able to record double-digit growth in sales.
MyHome.ie boss Angela Keegan said it was very encouraging to see the level of house sales rising all over the country.
But she pointed out that the recovery was still in its early stages.
“We were surprised to see sales rise by as much as they did in several counties, especially in the border region and Waterford, which have struggled more than most since the collapse in property prices in 2007.
“People are recognising that there is value in the market and this along with pent-up demand is what is driving sales.”
However, she said sales levels were still low, at under 30,000.
If the Irish property market was functioning properly, we should be seeing double or treble that level of sales, she said.
“So we really need to see that figure rising and the Government and the banks have key roles to play in ensuring it does,” Ms Keegan said.
Last week, the Governor of the Central Bank Patrick Honohan vowed to burst any new property price bubble, amid worries that prices were rising too strongly in urban areas.
Dr Honohan said houses in Dublin were no longer “under-valued”, based on economic models used by the Central Bank.
That is a big change from last year when research from the Central Bank had suggested prices were below where they should be based on the wider economy – a finding that may have encouraged some people to buy in the past year.
A severe shortage of family homes in certain sought-after parts of Dublin has led to dramatic price rises in those areas, fuelling fears the market was becoming overheated again.
Dr Honohan suggested that Dublin prices may have plateaued after recent sharp rises – but admitted even his bank had difficulty interpreting house price data.
The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show house prices are up 7.8pc nationally in March, and up 14.3pc in Dublin compared to a year ago.