WHILE one set of monthly figures hardly constitutes a trend, the news that house prices were unchanged in March is the best piece of news the embattled property market has had for a very long time.
According to the CSO, average national house prices were unchanged last month. However, before one unfurls the flags and bunting, that still means that house prices have fallen by an average of 49 per cent from their 2007 peak.
In local markets, Dublin in particular, the price falls have been even steeper. Average house prices have fallen by 55 per cent in the capital while apartment prices are down by a vertiginous 61 per cent .
While prices outside of Dublin are still falling, down another 0.6 per cent last month, there are signs of a tentative recovery in the capital with Dublin house prices rising by 0.7 per cent and apartment prices by no less than 2.3 per cent in March.
So is it time to call the bottom on the great Irish house price crash? That, as the man once said, depends. The fall in Dublin house and apartment prices has been much steeper than that experienced in the rest of the country -- so far at least.
This probably means that Dublin prices are at or close to the bottom. With rents also showing signs of firming now is probably the time for anyone currently renting to do the sums on getting a mortgage instead.
Outside of Dublin it's a very different story. With chronic oversupply and many sellers still not having adjusted to the new realities, house prices outside of Dublin still have much, much further to fall.
Sunday Indo Business