First-time buyers are beginning to face competition in the Dublin market from homeowners who are trading down. Even though prices have fallen, long-established homeowners are trading down because they can still take a profit, or they have very little to pay off their mortgage. So they can still buy a reasonably sized smaller home and have money over. The spare funds may go towards topping up pensions some of which have been devastated by the collapse in the stock market investments.
This trend has been noticed by Keith Lowe, managing director of Douglas Newman Good, who says that other 'trader downers' are seeking smaller homes which are more energy efficient and they can save on their heating bills.
He has also noticed an upsurge in the west Dublin market, which he considers a good indicator of what is likely to happen in the overall Dublin housing market. This area, stretching from Tallaght to Lucan and Blanchardstown, is dominated by first-time-buyer homes so it usually acts as a barometer of what will happen in the rest of Dublin within a couple of months.
"The area has seen a surge in buyer activity and sales," he explains. Within the first three weeks of this year DNG sold 12 houses and apartments in west Dublin.
While prices have fallen 51.6pc from peak on the southside and 45pc on the northside, those in west Dublin are 40pc down from peak.