House prices up again in May as more buyers get loan approvals
PROPERTY prices have risen for the second month in a row, with values in Dublin continuing to power ahead.
Experts say the latest figures show continuing signs of stabilisation in the housing market.
Separate figures show a rise in the number of people approved for a mortgage in May.
Last month saw prices rise in Dublin and outside the capital, in a move that meant prices nationally were up for the month.
It was the second month in a row that prices were up in the capital, as limited supply means values on the east coast continue to steam ahead.
Calculations based on the CSO figures show that the price of a property nationally is now €156,000, down from €314,000 at the peak of the housing boom in 2007.
May's rise in prices was 0.3pc, with an increase of 0.1pc in the rest of the country.
Over the past year, prices fell 1.1pc nationally.
Even though property prices fell nationally in May when compared with the same month last year, it was the slowest pace of decline since the housing market crash five years ago.
In the year to May, prices were down 1.1pc, compared with an annual drop of 15pc to the same month last year.
There was an annual rise of 0.5pc in Dublin. This was the fifth consecutive month to record an annual rise for properties in the capital.
Calculations based on the CSO figures show that the price of a property in Dublin now averages €189,000, down from a peak of €430,000.
Outside the capital, the average property is now selling for around €140,000, down from a high of €268,000.
Prices have now halved countrywide since the peak of the housing boom in 2007.
Dublin prices are down 56pc, with those in the rest of the country down by 48pc.
Economist with Merrion Stockbrokers Alan McQuaid said prices were likely to fall again this year, but it is set to be the smallest annual decrease seen in the past six years.
"The latest rise in residential property prices is encouraging but anecdotal evidence suggests consumer confidence regarding the housing market still remains fragile, with the ending of mortgage interest relief and lack of credit availability depressing activity," Mr McQuaid said.
Figures from the Irish Banking Federation indicate a rise in the number of people approved for a mortgage.
The report shows that a total of 1,722 mortgages were approved by lenders in May, with a value of €294m.
The number of mortgages approved was up 5pc on the same month last year.
The average mortgage approval value was €178,751 – up 2.4pc on the same period last year.
But separate figures from the Central Bank show that loans to households continued to decline last month.
Lending fell 4.5pc in May following from a 4.3pc fall in April.
Meanwhile, landlords were told that rents in Dublin could rise by up to 13pc this year.
David Cantwell, director of Hook & MacDonald auctioneers, told a meeting of the Irish Property Owners' Association that rents would rise in the capital because of a rise in population at a time when there were no homes being constructed.