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House prices rose slightly in May despite lockdown limiting sales


Declining confidence: Stephen Lyons of Davy Stockbrokers

Declining confidence: Stephen Lyons of Davy Stockbrokers

Declining confidence: Stephen Lyons of Davy Stockbrokers

Property prices rose marginally in May even though the lockdown put the brakes on house purchases and sales.

The level of transactions nationally was down 46.2pc in the month as the pandemic hit the market hard.

Further drops in transaction levels are expected as a survey of banks about lending in July shows the largest number of rejections of mortgage applications since this was first recorded in 2015.

The July survey showed lenders tightened credit conditions the most since 2008.

The latest Central Statistics Office figures show property prices increased by 0.3pc nationally in the year to May, less than half the 0.7pc rise in prices recorded in April.

Month on month there was a fall of 0.1pc in May.

In Dublin, residential property prices showed no change in the year to May, according to the Central Statistics Office.

Experts said many of the sales filed in April and May would have reflected prices agreed months earlier, so it may take a while for the impact of the virus on the market to fully reflect in prices published by the CSO.

Just 1,937 property purchases were filed with Revenue this May.

The median, or midpoint, price paid for a property in the month was €250,000.

This is down €13,000 from the median price in April, despite the CSO saying the index rose by 0.3pc in May.

Statisticians said the median price does not adjust for house size, quality and location, while the percentage figures used in the index do adjust for these factors.

Property prices excluding Dublin were 0.7pc higher in the year to May.

The region outside of Dublin that saw the largest rise in house prices was the south-west at 4.3pc. At the other end of the scale, the south-east saw a 0.8pc decline.

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Overall, the national index is 18pc lower than its highest level in 2007.

The Dublin region had the highest median price at €370,001 in the year to May.

The most expensive houses in the Dublin region were in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown with a median price of €525,000, while south Dublin had the lowest price at €347,500.

The highest median prices outside Dublin were in Wicklow at €330,392 and Kildare at €310,000, while the lowest price was €105,000 recorded in Leitrim.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank's 'Bank Lending Survey for July' shows a sharp decline in demand for mortgages, and a tightening up of lending criteria by banks.

The survey shows demand for loans for house purchase and consumer lending fell at the fastest rate in the history of the series and is the first marked decline in demand since the last quarter of 2011.

Economist with Davy Stockbrokers Stephen Lyons said falls in demand for lending were driven by Covid-19 and declining consumer confidence.

He said the report shows that credit standards and terms and conditions on mortgages and consumer lending were tightened at the fastest rate since 2008.

The tightening of credit standards in the April to June period was coupled with the largest increase in rejected loan applications since the question was first asked in the survey at the start of 2015.

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