Listed house builder Cairn Homes has suspended payment of its final 2019 dividend of on the back of a slowdown in enquiries from potential buyers.
The company is also suspending its current share buyback programme, of which around €46m of the €60m programme has been completed to-date.
While Cairn had initially experienced a positive start to the year, footfall and face-to-face interest have slowed “significantly” over the last two weeks, it said in a trading update.
Online engagement has increased.
Cairn said it expects sales activity to be negatively impacted over “at least” the near term and possibly for an indeterminate period of time.
However, building work is continuing across each of its sites at the moment.
In addition, Cairn has high levels of forward sales – units sold off the plans for delivery later this year.
The company's year to-date closed sales and forward sales pipeline was 853 units, with a sales value of €266.1m as at 2 March.
Almost 85pc of the homes sold for delivery later this year are contracted, and Carin said a number of contracted sales have been completing in recent days and weeks.
Cairn had net debt of €91.2m as at 31 December, comprising of drawn debt of €148m, available cash of €56.8m and undrawn facilities of €194m under its revolving credit facility.
Yesterday a report from Davy Stockbrokers suggested house prices in Ireland could fall by as much as 20pc if the upheaval caused by the spread of the coronavirus continues.
The report, which looked at the current share price of Cairn and Glenveagh Properties, says financial markets have already priced in a decline of 15pc to 20pc in the value of Irish homes.