"Decades of strong growth in the need for housing are likely on the way. 'Supply, supply, supply' must remain the policymakers catchphrase".
Those were the sage words of Ronan Lyons, Assistant Professor in Economics at Trinity College Dublin, in his introduction to the latest DAFT.ie House Price Report, an analysis of trends within the Irish residential sales market during 2020.
"The housing market is - as the name suggests - a market and the laws of supply and demand are powerful descriptors of what is going on," wrote Mr Lyons.
"The lack of supply - coupled with the demand for housing holding up reasonably well this year - has translated into strong increases in housing prices, especially in the second half of year," he added.
That much is evident from the report, which has seen the average list price of a house nationally rose by 2.2% over the final quarter of the year - the first time since 2006 that the end of year has recorded a price rise.
Furthermore, the report found that prices nationally in the final quarter of 2020 were 7.4% highest than the same period 12-months earlier, the largest single one-year gain since late 2017.
In Munster, house prices are at a new post-2007 high, rising 2.6% between September and December and 7% year-on-year, with average prices across the province coming in 7.4% higher than a year previously, the second highest rate of inflations since mid-2019.
In Cork County the average asking price for a house now stands at €235,973, 3% higher than quarter three, representing an 8.3% year-on-year increase of 8.3%. This is a 64.8% higher than at its lowest point, or trough, in 2013.
The average price in Cork City is now €296,0171.8% higher than in quarter three and 5.8% higher than 12-months ago, representing an 80.3% change from the 2012 trough.
While the report did not give a break down of the current supply of houses in Cork City or County, there were less than 4,600 properties on the market in Munster as of December 1 - down from almost 6,800 on the same date a year ago.
This is a reflection on the national trend, with the DAFT.ie report finding that since Covid-19 reached Ireland in March, supply on the market has never been above 20,000 and on December 1 was just 15,390, down by one-third on the already low figure recorded 12-months earlier.
The report found that this record low housing supply has also seen rents rise across the country by 7.4%.
Mr Lyons wrote that the situation was vastly different from December 2019, when he wrote that the sales segment in Ireland's housing system was "by and large, in balance".
"The supply of homes for sale had improved for three years in a row and, as a result, prices around the country were largely unchanged over the course of 2019," wrote in the latest report.
He said that the housing market did not escape the upheaval caused by the Covid pandemic, pointing out the number of homes put up for sale across the country over the second quarter of the year was down by a whopping 50%.
"While things improved in the third quarter of the year, as the economy reopened, he volume of listings never even matched the same month in 2019, let alone offered catch-up. For the year as a whole just 49,000 homes were advertised - the lowest total in five-years," wrote Mr Lyons.
He said combined with the fall in the construction of new builds has translated into an "unprecedented scarcity" of homes for sale.
"Since the start of 2007, when Daft.ie's nationwide coverage was effectively complete for the first time, there had always been at least 20,000 homes for sale on the market at any one time. Over those 13 years, the average number of homes for sale on the market was just over 40,000 - with a peak of 63,000 in 2008."