PROPERTY prices rose by double-digit amounts in April, but the rate of increase is easing.
New figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that prices were up by 14.2pc in the year to April.
This compares to an increase of 15.1pc in the year to March.
The monthly increase was just 0.1pc, indicating that the rate of rise is slowing.
It is the first time in almost two years that property price inflation has cooled.
April’s figures suggest property price inflation may have peaked, according to economist with KBC Bank Austin Hughes.
Dublin prices were flat in April compared with the previous month.
This represents the the first time since September 2020 that monthly price rises were flat in Dublin.
Mr Hughes said the easing off in the rate of price rises reflect the fact that prices have risen so far that affordability was now a key issue.
It comes as President Michael D Higgins has blasted the State’s housing policies a “disaster”.
“It isn’t a crisis any more – it is a disaster,” the President said, adding that “basic needs” of “food, shelter and education” should be met.
Insufficient numbers of houses being built is keeping prices high, experts say.
Mr Higgins used a speech at the opening of a new supported residence facility for young adults emerging from homelessness in Kildare to say that housing “isn’t a crisis any more – it is a disaster”.
The CSO said that in Dublin residential property prices saw an annual increase of 11.5pc.
Property prices outside Dublin were 16.4pc higher than a year earlier.
The region outside of Dublin that saw the largest rise in house prices was the Border at 22.1pc, while at the other end of the scale, house prices in the Mid-West increased by 11.7pc.
In the South-East prices were up by 21.1pc in the year.
The median, or mid-point, price of a home purchased in the year to April was €286,000.
Dublin region had the highest median price at €410,000 in April.
Within the Dublin region, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown had the highest median price at €605,000, while South Dublin had the lowest at €375,000.
The highest median prices outside of Dublin were in Wicklow (€395,000) and Kildare at €345,000, while the lowest price was €137,000 in Longford.
The national index is now just 2.1pc lower than its highest level in 2007.
Dublin prices are 10.2pc lower than their February 2007 peak, while residential property prices in the Rest of Ireland are 3.2pc lower than their May 2007 peak.
The number of houses and apartments bought by cuckoo funds and State-supported housing bodies rose to 11,701 last year.
This represents around 20pc of the 58,152 properties purchased in that year, the CSO said, referring to Revenue filings.
Mr Hughes said the property market was seeing increased uncertainty related to the economic and financial impact from war in Ukraine and cost-of-living hikers, higher interest rates, and weaker economic growth.
He said demand may be “normalising” after Covid-surge that was prompted by race for space and higher savings.
Housing supply was now likely to improve for the remainder of year and beyond, Mr Hughes said.
Higher mortgage rates are taking some of the steam out of the property market.
Non-bank lender Finance Ireland has become the third lender to increase its mortgage rates.
The mortgage provider is increasing its three and five-year fixed rates by 1.2pc, a larger than expected rise.
It is also increasing its 10, 15 and 20 and 25-year fixed rates by 0.5pc.
The new rates apply from Monday, June 27.
Last week the European Central Bank signalled that it may put up its key lending rate by as much as 0.75 percentage points by September.
Mortgage holders are set to be hit by the first in a series of interest rate rises from next month, a move that will push annual repayments up by more than €1,000 for a family with a typical tracker.
Variable rates and future fixed rates are also set to be hiked.