Tuesday 20 February 2018

House-price rebound to divide the country

RTE documentary claims prices are close to stabilising and will begin rising in early 2014 -- but only in the east


THE property market is within months of reaching the bottom and house prices in the greater Dublin area could rebound with "the speed and vigour" of a ping-pong ball released under water, according to one expert.

The follow-up to the nightmare Future Shock which was blamed by estate agents for bursting the property bubble paints an unexpectedly optimistic picture of the market. Four years on the RTE 1 documentary Property Crash -- Where to Now claims property could stabilise in months and prices will begin rising again as early as 2014.

The Governor of the Central Bank says he believes houses are now close to "sustainable" prices.

"Banks will lend when both they and the borrowers and the purchasers of houses are confident that they're getting the house at a fair, sustainable price and I think we're getting close to that point," says Professor Patrick Honohan.

"The recovery when it comes will seem to be particularly abrupt in the eastern area," says Dr Conor Skehan, head of Environmental Planning at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

"I like to make the analogy of what happens when you hold a ping-pong ball under the water and let it go, the way it abruptly pops up, and I think the speed and vigour of the recovery when it happens will surprise many," he says.

The programme, which will be broadcast on RTE 1 television tomorrow night, also includes a contribution from Douglas Newman Good CEO Keith Lowe who believes that some areas of the property market have "overcorrected", adding that this has been the case with "very high end properties particularly".

But the future will see a divided Ireland -- with prices rising again in Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare, Meath and Louth while property in Leitrim, Cavan, Longford, Roscommon, Sligo, Wexford, Carlow, Waterford, Kerry and Mayo could languish for years to come -- and in some cases never recover.

In some extreme cases where the programme found the wrong type of property built in the wrong places, a recovery in price may not come at all.

In the case of Ballisodare in Co Sligo, for example, there are currently 216 vacant apartments out of a total of 224 spread across three apartment developments within walking distance of each other. The town itself has a population of just 971 -- making it unlikely that the apartments will be occupied anytime soon.

Meanwhile specially commissioned research conducted by the property website Daft.ie reveals that three-bed, semi-detached houses have held up better than any other property type available on the market, registering a decline of 44 per cent nationally and 46 per cent in Dublin since the peak.

The Daft asking price survey found that one bedroom apartments have fared the worst with an average decline of 66 per cent from peak.

Sunday Independent

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