It was only a matter of time before the national conversation came back to property prices.
As the immediate threat of Covid-19 recedes somewhat, attention has turned to whether we will have a soft landing, a term popularised in the Celtic Tiger era just before the crash. Will it be a V-shaped recession, or will the cost of the average Irish home keep on tumbling?
There are two ways in which the coronavirus could have a deep impact on the property market. The first is that economic shock and soaring unemployment could prompt a sharp drop in prices.
That was the picture painted by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) this week when the think-tank forecast that house prices are likely to drop by 12pc by the end of next year.
On one hand, the fall should be positive news for buyers, as homes become more affordable. On the other, many hoping to get on to the property ladder may struggle because of falling incomes and banks' unwillingness to give them mortgages amid growing unemployment.
A more long-term effect of Covid-19, which is being pondered by real-estate soothsayers, is that a significant portion of the population will work from home at least part of the time.
Opinion is divided on whether this crisis will prompt a shift away from cities.
Twitter has told its employees that they will have the option of working at home "forever", while Google and Facebook say staff are likely to continue remote working until the end of the year.
Much has been made of the effect of this on the centralised office building as the default workplace for those engaged in non-manual labour.
But will it not also affect where employees live? If there is no need to be in an office five days a week, there may be a temptation to flee expensive suburbs and move out even beyond the commuter belt, where property is much cheaper.
After two months in lockdown, some city-dwellers may want to abandon apartment living, and show a renewed interest in semi-detached garden suburbia and rural bungalow bliss.
"Increasingly we are seeing that people don't want apartments, but will want to go back to traditional housing," says Damien Dillon, a property consultant. "Now that there is an increased trend towards home working, they need an extra room for an office. Why pay high rents in the city centre, when you could live in a house with extra space somewhere like Maynooth or Greystones?"
After two years in Dublin working in IT and renting apartments with his wife Tabata and daughter Stella, Leonardo dos Santos now wants to buy a house outside the city.
The Brazilian software engineer has worked right through the Covid-19 lockdown, and has been able to save money.
"Nothing really changed with my work in terms of stability," he says. "I am still doing the same work except that I am doing it from home."
He hopes to be able to save more money and buy a house in a commuter town in Kildare or Wicklow if prices come down.
With the prospect of eventually working three days a week at home, he feels less need to be close to his workplace in Sandyford, on the southside of Dublin.
"What I really want is a house with a garden, so that my daughter has space to run around," says Dos Santos, who is paying €1,900 a month in rent for a two-bed flat in Rathfarnham.
Not all renters will be in a position to buy, however, and they will still face onerous conditions from banks if they want to get a home loan.
Aengus Hennessy, a tenant living with his family in Glasnevin, has had a hankering to buy his own place, but has found it impossible to get a mortgage.
"When you say you are self-employed, the banks don't want to know," says the cabinet maker, who is a member of the Dublin Tenants Association. "My landlord is decent enough, but as a tenant in Ireland, you have very little security. I spent 15 years living in New York and you had much more security there."
Workers in steady sectors such as IT and finance may have better opportunities to buy if prices drop, but other potential first-time buyers find themselves in a much more precarious position.
Colm Burke, the Fine Gael TD for Cork North Central, says he has dealt with a large number of couples who were hoping to buy a house, but fear that the deal will fall through because one of them is receiving a temporary wage subsidy from the Government during the pandemic.
"These are often people in safe secure jobs," he says. In typical cases, banks will not allow them to draw down loans at a late stage in the deal even if both are in steady jobs but one is receiving a state subsidy.
Trevor Grant, who works with Affinity Advisors and is chairman of the Association of Irish Mortgage Advisors, says: "Certain people whose jobs have been affected by Covid-19 are unable to close their mortgage transaction, because they can't satisfy the lender that they will return to the terms they were on when the loan was approved in the first place.
"That is the first bottleneck we are seeing - and it is deeply disturbing for everybody involved. The people involved are not there because of something silly they did, or something silly their employer did. It is something outside everybody's control," he says. So how has the property market been affected so far by the pandemic, and how will it affect rents, prices and the desirability of living in certain types of properties.
In one positive development, Focus Ireland reported this week that the number of families becoming homeless in April was down to 15, compared with a typical figure of about 100.
Professor Ronan Lyons, an economist at Trinity College Dublin, tracks rents closely through Daft.ie surveys.
He says they dropped by 2pc in April, the biggest monthly fall in 11 years, and he expects a further decline this year.
"I would not be surprised if we have a 10pc to 20pc drop in rents by the end of the year," he says. "Some of the sectors where renters are over-represented are the most affected by the pandemic in terms of employment: hospitality, catering and tourism."
Lyons says the trend in rents and sales prices will depend on the unemployment rate as we come out of lockdown.
"There is uncertainty about what the true unemployment rate will be when things open up again, and how many people stay out of work. Will it be as high as 20pc?"
The trend in house prices will also be shaped by the drop in overall household income over the next year, he says. That, again, is likely to be affected heavily by the unemployment rate.
"If there is a 10pc fall in income, you would expect a 10pc to 15pc fall in sales prices. It may not just be incomes that affect this - you could also get a shock to confidence."
There may be forecasts of lower house prices and rents, but supply remains an issue.
"There is still an underlying shortage of housing that has built up for a couple of decades, but in the next few months the incomes may not be there to pay for it," says Lyons.
Faced with a housing shortage and financial instability, renters and buyers who simply cannot afford the prices will resort to moving in with friends, relatives or parents, he adds.
Initially, it was hoped that the recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic would be V-shaped, with a sharp downturn followed by a swift recovery.
That was one of the scenarios outlined by the ESRI in this week's forecast. A more pessimistic scenario suggested by the think-tank forecasts a more sluggish recovery.
According to its report, a contraction in prices will be caused by the decline in household disposable income and the sharp fall-off in mortgage market activity.
Professor Kieran McQuinn, one of the authors of the report, told Review that a more sluggish recovery is now much more likely.
This is partly because the slow easing of the lockdown in the Government's five-point plan, which will mean that social distancing will continue into the autumn.
"The fact that people's income will be reduced will make it more difficult for them to get mortgages. Financial institutions may not be as prepared to lend as they were before," he says. "If there is a second wave of the virus, there could be a more adverse outcome again."
While the ESRI forecasts a fall of 12pc by the end of next year, McQuinn believes that prices are likely to pick up again in the long term.
"Over the longer term what you see happening - and this is what happened after the financial crisis - is that the economy goes into a tailspin.
"Consequently, house prices fall because of falling income, but once the economy stabilises, demand for housing will pick up again quite quickly."
While the fall in prices may continue into next year, the temporary halt in construction will mean that there will still be a housing shortage. According to the ESRI professor, at the start of the year it was hoped that up 24,000 homes would be built this year, but the total will now fall way short of that.
While rising unemployment may leave many families strapped for cash, others who have continued working will have saved money that otherwise would have been spent on holidays, eating out or shopping.
"Some people will have a significant increase in their savings. So when the economy stabilises, you could see those savings being used in the housing market," says McQuinn. "So, demand could pick up quickly."
Not all property commentators are as pessimistic about property prices as the ESRI, and some believe the housing shortage will mean that prices will bounce back quickly.
Marian Finnegan, chief economist for Sherry FitzGerald, the estate agent, says: "So far we have not seen any downward pressure on prices of any note.
"This is a very unusual shock, and it is clear that some people are staying at home and not spending money. There will be a stack of money in savings accounts.
"There are as many factors that could drive prices up as down. There may be some risk to prices in the short term, but that will be overturned provided we return to economic activity," she says.
It is too early during this unstable period to detect a trend in prices. Seasoned observers of the property scene have noted that in the last crash, it took six months before the first vendors cut their asking prices in response to prevailing conditions.
However, discounts are being quietly negotiated, particularly for second-hand homes, and the bigger the house, the bigger the percentage discount, according to some property sources.
Breffnie O'Kelly, a Dublin property agent who advises buyers, told Review: "Most of the buyers, who plan to be owner-occupiers and have had a sale agreed pre-Covid, are not walking away.
"In most cases the price where we had agreed to buy has been renegotiated downwards by about 5pc."
There may have been speculation that the pandemic will reduce the appeal of capital cities such as Dublin, as cash-strapped buyers seek a rural idyll where they can work in their home office, looking out over fields of lambs and bluebells.
But it may be too soon to write an obituary for the grand metropolis.
Lyons says the attraction of big cities will be weakened somewhat if the pandemic is not easily solved and looks like repeating itself. However, the economist believes our preference for clustering together is unlikely to go away. Cities have had a gravitational pull over centuries across the western world despite pestilence, disease and pollution, and managed to adapt to changing conditions.
"If there is a vaccine and then the coronavirus is gone, there will be a blip for a year or two," says Lyons, "and we will go back to the trend of the last 150 years where more people move to cities."