Property prices in capital rise by 3pc but rural values plummet
THE yawning property price gap between city and country has widened further, new figures show.
There was a jump of 3pc in the value of houses and apartments in the past year in Dublin, the Central Statistics Office said.
But prices plunged by 6pc across the rest of the country, in the year to February.
Dublin apartment prices surged 7.8pc higher when compared with the same month in 2012.
However, the CSO warned that figures for apartments are based on low volumes of transactions and may not be completely accurate.
For the month of February prices dropped nationally by 1.5pc, the largest monthly fall in 12 months.
This is almost double the price decrease in January, when prices fell by 0.6pc.
Over the past year prices nationally have fallen by 2.6pc – but the pace of the annualised decline has slowed. Prices outside Dublin were down 2.1pc in February, and are down 6pc compared with a year ago.
Over the past five years, prices have dropped by 51pc.
Calculations based on the CSO figures indicate that the average property price nation- ally is now €157,000 – half of what it was in 2007. In Dublin, the average price is €190,000, down from €430,000 when the boom came to an end.
Outside of the capital, prices average €140,000 – down from a peak of €268,000.
Goodbody economist Dermot O'Leary said the fall of 1.5pc in overall prices in February was a blow to confidence. "Given the recent signs of stability in the Irish housing market, the 1.5pc price decline in February will be seen as somewhat of a disappointment," he said.
He said price falls were due to the greater clarity on prices from the six-month-old property price register.
The rush to buy before Christmas, to avail of mortgage tax relief, was also likely to distort he market, Mr O'Leary added.
He warned that any recovery of the property market was likely to be uneven, with gains in Dublin likely and uncertainty around future prices in other areas. Plans by banks to repossess buy-to-let properties were also likely to impact on prices.
Economist with Merrion Stockbrokers Alan McQuaid said the odds pointed to another drop in 2013. "But our gut feeling is that the decline will be in low single digits and the smallest decrease in the past six years."
Analyst with NCB Stockbrokers Emmet Gaffney maintained the market was stabilising, despite the latest falls. "Our view remains that Irish house prices are at the 'stabilisation' stage, with a two-tiered outlook between Dublin and the rest of the country firmly in place."