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First signs of recovery for house prices

ASKING prices for homes in certain parts of the capital are showing slight signs of improving, new figures reveal.

Ireland is entering the fifth year of property price falls, but the new report from Daft.ie offers a small chink of light for Dubliners.

Prices in some areas of Dublin rose between 1.6pc and 4pc, according to two separate sets of research.

The cost of properties are now a massive 47pc lower than the peak in the last quarter of 2006 and Dublin prices fell by 54pc, according to MyHome.ie.

But there are signs of a stabilisation in the market as Daft.ie found that prices are just 1.4pc lower than the same period last year -- slowing considerably from the 8pc in the last three months of 2011.

Contrary research from MyHome.ie shows that house prices dropped by 7.2pc in the first quarter of 2012, which was the fastest rate of decline in three years.

The research from the estate agent shows that the median asking price nationally for a three-bed semi-detached house is €185k, but Angela Keegan, managing director of MyHome.ie, said "micro markets" were beginning to emerge.

"The price of three-bed semis in Dublin actually rose by 1.6pc to €259,000 in the first quarter, while they fell by 20pc to €120,000 in Laois," she said.


But according to Daft.ie, the average asking price for residential property in Dublin and Galway city centres rose by 4pc and 2.3pc respectively.

A key indicator that there is renewed interest in the property market is that houses and apartments are selling faster and the number of houses sitting on the 'for sale' list is at its lowest point in four years.

But even this must be taken with a pinch of salt -- the actual total number of properties for sale, at 54,000, is the lowest it has been for four years.

The low number of houses for sale is an indication that it is a severely "depressed" market.

Ronan Lyons, economist with property site Daft, warns there won't be any real breakthrough until the banks start lending again and it will take a long time for confidence and activity to grow to a level where the housing market can be considered healthy.

Annette Hughes, director of DKM Economic Consultants, which produced the MyHome.ie report, said that reports are indicating that house prices will fall by a further 10 to 15pc.

"With prices falling by around 2pc per month, this implies another six to seven months of falling prices before possibly stabilising in the second half of the year," she said.