Housing market still remains dysfunctional
Last Friday's official figures on house prices and property sales gave a mixed picture. Probably the best news was a slowdown in the rate of price increases. Over the first three months of the year, national property prices rose by 1pc. That is sharply down from the second half of last year when prices were rising by more than 1pc every month. The 2017 trend towards lower property inflation was even to be seen in Dublin, where demand for housing is growing most rapidly.
If the easing of price rises is to be welcomed by almost everyone, it is not easy to explain. Demand is rising as the population and numbers at work grow. Extra credit is further fuelling demand - the number of mortgages being drawn down is rising.
At the same time, the number of property transactions is not trending upwards. In the first three months of the year, just over 13,000 homes were bought and sold across the country. That was up a tad on the same period last year, but down on January-March 2015. The housing market remains dysfunctional.