Sunday 4 December 2016

Property prices still rising despite Central Bank's lending curbs

Published 29/10/2015 | 02:30

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Karl Deeter of Irish Mortgage Brokers

Property prices continue to rise at more than 1pc per month, despite the lending measures introduced by the Central Bank to cool the market.

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Figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show national price hikes of 8.9pc year on year - and 1.3pc in September.

Meanwhile, in Dublin, residential prices rose by almost 1pc (0.9pc) - up 6.5pc on September last year.

The latest month's data is comparable to the 1pc-plus increases during the boom years.

More worryingly, Dublin house prices (not including apartments), which the Central Bank measures were designed to cool, rose 1.1pc in September.

Demonstrating the pace of different markets, outside of Dublin, prices rose even higher, by 1.6pc and up 11.4pc on September 2014.

However, national residential prices are still now 34.6pc lower than at their peak level in 2007, while Dublin prices remain 33.7pc lower.

The CSO data demonstrates an erratic year for property prices, which previously increased in August by 2.3pc, in July by 0.9pc and in June by just 0.1pc.

In contrast, in January and February, national prices went down by 1.4pc and 0.4pc respectively.

This indicates that, despite irregular progress, prices have generally been increasing by greater amounts as the year has progressed.

Karl Deeter of Irish Mortgage Brokers asserted that the increases, particularly in Dublin, were a sign that bank lending restrictions in the absence of supply increases were not working.

"A plan that works achieves its goals in the short and medium term at least, but here we see proof that house prices are rising in Dublin at 1.3pc," he said.

Mr Deeter added that if the Central Bank had let prices increase, then homes would have reached a level which would have caused builders to re-enter the market.

Mr Deeter also asserts that the Government, not "greedy builders", or indeed the Central Bank, has had the greatest role to play.

Taxes

"How can you criticise the construction sector when you are still playing a big role in preventing home building, by taking as much as 40pc of the price of a new home in various taxes?" he asked.

Meanwhile, Peter Stafford of Property Industry Ireland, which represents property sector firms, added: "The last few months have been relatively stable for house prices, with fairly consistent low-level growth.

"The moderation in house price growth in Dublin is largely driven by reduced borrowing capacity because of new Central Bank mortgage rules.

"While this lending policy is positive, in that it reduces the exposure of households to future fluctuations in prices, it masks the underlying crisis in the housing sector.

"Between January and August 2015, there were 29,916 housing transactions nationwide. This compares to 23,626 in the same period of 2014 and 16,462 in January to August 2013," he said.

"Population growth, demographic trends, as well as internal migration, will lead to increased transactions into the future.

"So it is vital that people looking to move house have a genuine choice of affordable accommodation.

He added: "There is a severe shortage of accommodation to rent in many urban areas, and a lack of affordable housing to buy."

Mr Stafford went on to call for a national strategy to be formed in order to sort out the growing problem.

Irish Independent

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