Wednesday 12 December 2018

Head of Central Bank hails slowdown in surging house prices

Central Bank governor Philip Lane. Photo: Mark Condren
Central Bank governor Philip Lane. Photo: Mark Condren

Donal O'Donovan and Ellie Donnelly

The Governor of the Central Bank Philip Lane has welcomed indications that the surge in house prices is showing signs of abating.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Philip Lane said that Irish house prices flatlining is "good news".

Mortgage lending caps introduced by the Central Bank in 2015 are widely credited with helping put a ceiling on house price growth this year, particularly the so called loan-to-income ration that restricts most borrowers to home loans that are no more than three-and-a-half times incomes.

In the televised interview, on Bloomberg, Governor Lane said that the supply of houses in the Irish market was increasing.

However, he also said that affordability remains an issue, as rents continue to rise.

The ERSI on Wednesday said that housing costs - rents and house prices - pose a significant challenge to domestic competitiveness.

Governor Lane's statement marked a change since the start of the year, when analysis by the Central Bank that house price inflation - then running at more than 12pc - was not unjustified.

Official data from the Central Statistic Office (CSO), published earlier this month, showed the rate at which property prices increased had slowed in the first seven months of the year.

The figures showed residential property prices nationally were up 10.4pc in the year to July.

That compared with an increase of 12pc in the year to June, and an increase of 11.6pc in the 12 months to July 2017.

Research published this week by the property sales website MyHome.ie, in association with Davy, found evidence that the slow down was becoming even more pronounced.

It found a 2.5pc fall in asking prices in Dublin in the third quarter of 2018, and a slight fall of 0.8pc in house prices nationally.

That slowed the annualised pace of asking price increased to 5.9pc - with the greatest slow down at the upper end of the Dublin market.

Meanwhile, Governor Lane who is widely tipped to be a candidate next year for a role as chief economist or potentially president of the European Central Bank, told Bloomberg that he stands "ready to serve" when vacancies come up.

Irish Independent

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business