Property prices nationwide rise for first time in six months
PROPERTY prices have risen in the capital and across the rest of the country for the first time in six months.
Average residential property prices rose by 0.8pc across Ireland in April from March, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
Prices in Dublin rose just 0.2pc in the month while prices elsewhere jumped 1.2pc.
It is the first time since November that prices in Dublin and outside it increased in the same month.
The latest figures suggest Dublin prices are 1pc higher than in April 2011, while prices elsewhere are 2.8pc lower.
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.
Dublin prices now average €188,400, down from a peak of €430,000.
The figures exclude around half of all transactions because they are cash deals without mortgages and the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) said the CSO figures do not accurately reflect prices in parts of Dublin.
"It is our experience that demand for family homes in good condition in well-established areas has pushed prices higher than 1pc and as such a broad average figure is no longer reflective," the SCSI added.
Outside the capital, the average property is 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 55pc, with those elsewhere down by 48pc.
Investec Ireland economist Philip O'Sullivan said prices outside the capital were likely to fall, while prices in Dublin would rise.
"We anticipate continued downward pressure on prices in rural areas as high inventory levels act as a barrier to a sustained improvement in prices," he said.
Alan McQuaid of Merrion Stockbrokers also said prices may continue to fall this year, but the reduction could be the lowest in six years.
He said the latest CSO information on property prices was encouraging but anecdotal evidence suggested consumer confidence regarding the housing market remained fragile.
Mr McQuaid said the ending of mortgage interest relief and lack of credit availability were depressing activity.
The weak labour market was also weighing negatively on house prices, though recent signs of improvement on the employment front could give the property market a boost later in the year.
Constrained mortgage lending, the new property tax and an increased supply of repossessed homes mean the outlook for prices is uncertain, but improved affordability and rising rents may underpin house prices in the future.