There is a chronic shortage of new homes, and the number of all houses for sale has reached a nine-year low. Many potential sellers are still in negative equity despite a rise in prices over the last few years. Lending criteria, although somewhat eased with the changes to the Central Bank regulations announced recently, are still very challenging. Many who would previously have considered selling do not have the appetite for risk and are instead spending smaller amounts of money to extend and improve where possible. A significant factor for those on tracker mortgages is that if they sell, they may lose them.
Marian McQuillan is the CEO of Quillsen, formerly Gunne Estate Agents, and was formerly a director of Purcell McQuillan Tax Partners.
A lack of houses to trade to, either up or down; the inability to raise finance to trade up; tracker-mortgage holders not wishing to lose an attractive source of finance; older people being healthier for longer; and, of course, there are still more than 100,000 people in negative equity who do not want to crystallise the loss.
Michael Grehan s the managing director of the Sherry FitzGerald estate agency group, which has a 66-branch-strong network including franchises. He has more than 27 years' experience in the sector.
A large percentage of mortgage holders remain in negative equity, as property prices remain over 40pc below their peak in Dublin and 30pc outside the capital, and this rules out a huge percentage of home-owners from moving home. Also, with the absence of bridging finance being available, many home-owners wishing to downsize, who would normally buy first with bridging finance, cannot move house. This is seriously affecting the number of house sales and hence supply. Also international funds hold a significant number of properties under management, which they are not quick to release.
Keith Lowe is CEO of Douglas Newman Good, which has 75 offices throughout the country. He has 32 years' experience in the sector, having joined the firm in 1984.
The lack of suitable supply to trade up to is an issue throughout the market, not just at the lower, new or first-time end. While the Central Bank mortgage restrictions have been eased for first-time buyers, second-time buyers still cannot afford to save the massive deposits needed to make the step up.
Eamonn Spratt is chairman of the Real Estate Alliance, a partnership of more than 50 auctioneering firms nationwide. He is also the third generation to run the family estate agency REA Spratt in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, where he has worked for 28 years.