Capital leads the pack as dozens flock to viewing over holiday weekend
It's usually hard to drum up interest in property viewings on a bank holiday weekend. But yesterday more than 30 potential buyers attended an open viewing at a house in Drumcondra in half an hour.
The house, a three-bedroom semi at High Park, off Grace Park Road, has a guide price of €329,000.
A shortage of family homes for sale in the Dublin area has helped fuel price rises, with Dublin residential property costing on average 14.3 per cent more than a year ago.
New CSO figures have once again highlighted the "two nations" in relation to property price disparities between the capital and the rest of the country.
The price of residential properties in the Republic – excluding Dublin – fell by 1.6 per cent in March, and prices were just 2.9 per cent higher than in March of last year.
Despite significant competition for houses and apartments in Dublin, prices remain 48.3 per cent lower than at their highest level in 2007 with apartments 55 per cent cheaper than the February 2007 peak.
Last week the Governor of the Central Bank vowed to burst any new property price bubble. Dr Patrick Honohan said houses in Dublin were no longer "undervalued", based on economic models used by the Central Bank.
He suggested that Dublin prices may have plateaued after recent sharp rises – but admitted even his bank had difficulty interpreting house price data.
Meanwhile, economist John FitzGerald of the ESRI cast doubt on the latest CSO figures suggesting that prices had started to drop nationally, saying the figures did not take account of homes bought without a mortgage.
"Those house prices reported by the CSO may have fallen but just how representative they are of prices overall remains to be seen.
"The big factor here is cash buyers. The CSO figures relate to mortgage buyers only. But if cash buyers are making up a large proportion of sales, as many believe, then the cash buyers are likely to be outbidding mortgage buyers and therefore accounting for the higher prices, which are not being reflected here," he said.
That view was echoed by a spokesperson for Housing Minister Jan O'Sullivan, who admitted that though extremely valuable, the CSO data is based on mortgage drawdowns and as such doesn't capture all sales.