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CSO Reports 10.2% Increase in House Prices Nationwide..

DUBLIN: House prices in Ireland are skyrocketing, with the Central Statistics Office (CSO) reporting a 10.2% increase over the past six months. This surge has surpassed the all-time high set in April 2007, following the Celtic Tiger boom.

Trevor Grant, chairperson of Irish Mortgage Advisers, emphasises that the CSO report suggests continued price increases. This trend is exacerbated by the European Central Bank’s (ECB) interest rate cut, anticipated to draw more buyers into the market amidst resurgent inflation in the Eurozone.

Dreams of Homeownership Fading

The CSO indicates that the average house price in Ireland now stands at €335,000, making homeownership increasingly unattainable for the average person. While Dublin’s prices remain 1.8% below their February 2007 peak, other regions have seen their fastest price increases in a year and a half.

Demographic Shifts in Home Buyers

Economists note a significant shift in home buyers, with a substantial number of new purchasers being Indian immigrants and recognised refugees. Approximately 50% of mortgage applicants are Indian nationals, particularly those in the IT, pharma, and nursing sectors. Additionally, Indian intermediaries have entered the market, often providing misleading information for commission-based transactions.

Refugees, leveraging newly granted residency status, are also contributing to rising property prices by purchasing homes and agricultural lands, often with foreign financial support. This influx, combined with controlled housing construction, has driven sellers to continuously increase prices.

Monthly Price Escalation

The data shows a 7.9% rise in house prices from the previous month’s 7.4%. Despite higher mortgage rates, demand for homes remains robust. Dublin experienced an 8.3% year-on-year increase, with a 7.6% rise in other regions.

South Dublin led with a 10.5% increase, while Fingal saw a 7.1% rise. Outside Dublin, house prices rose by 7.3% and apartment prices by 10.3%. The mid-west regions of Clare, Limerick, and Tipperary recorded a 9.7% increase, and the border counties of Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan, and Sligo saw a 5.4% rise.

Regional Price Variations

Longford reported the lowest average house price at €169,000, while Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown had the highest at €624,999. Blackrock in Dublin became the most expensive area, with an average price of €720,000, while Castlerea recorded the lowest at €133,000.

Sustained Buyer Interest

The CSO noted 3,572 home purchases this month, a 9.5% increase from the 3,262 transactions recorded last year. Nationally, property prices have surged by 144.3% since 2013, with Dublin seeing a 143.3% increase from its February 2012 low. Residential property prices outside Dublin have risen by 153.7% since May 2013.

Davy stockbrokers predict a 7.5% increase in property prices this year, attributing it to a slowdown in transactions, which continues to fuel the upward price trend.

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