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As always, devil is in the detail – especially when it come to house values

SINCE January last year, some Dublin house prices have increased their value by as much as 40pc.

Don't believe me? It's all there on the property price register. I'm not talking about all Dublin prices, but selected choice streets.

Two years ago, there was plenty of interest but no buyers for family-sized homes in addresses such as Mount Merrion, Ballinteer and Clonskeagh. January 2012 marked 'rock bottom' for locations like these but, since then, the register shows steadily rising values there.

Early last year, a protracted dog fight erupted as an unusually large number of delayed home buyers – awash with years of savings – waded in. All shared the same objective: securing a top-notch Dublin address for the lowest prices since the late 1990s.

Wilson Road in Mount Merrion is a street of almost identical bungalows that achieved €1m in the boom. By 2011, a house was offered for €395,000, but failed to sell despite hundreds of viewers. It finally sold for €365,000 in December of that year.

Three months later, in March 2012, another home sold for €455,000. The hundreds of viewers who didn't bite from the last sale decided to get stuck in this time and the competition meant a price which was 25.6pc higher than its predecessor just three months earlier. Both prices are registered.

There are similar examples in other 'desirable' locations around Dublin but this focus on getting the right address at the right price is also the reason why other streets have not increased at anything like these rates.

It is all on the register. But this, and the steady rise in Dublin prices since last year, is not being reflected by the CSO – or anybody other than the estate agents.

DNG claims Dublin house prices have increased by 9.5pc through the last three quarters. That is an annual rate of 12.6pc – equivalent to anything seen in the boom. What makes this figure appear so unbelievable is that 9.5pc is far removed from the two 'asking price'-based property monitors. However, the price register says the estate agents have it right.

The current surge of price increases in select Dublin locations is unlikely to be sustained. As the number of 'delaying buyers' eventually dissipates, we might even see new price falls on these streets, albeit not back to the low levels of January 2012.

Six years from the crash, we really have to question why we are still being bamboozled by clashing numbers when it comes to the nation's property values – not least those unreliable government figures.

It can be argued that just like 15 years ago at the start of the Celtic Tiger, the most reliable numbers available are still those of commercially vested firms.

Irish Independent