Property report criticised by CIF
The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has criticised how Fitch Ratings compiles its residential property briefings for the Republic, saying a macro view of the Irish property market no longer holds water with the State now a series of localised markets.
“What we’re dealing with is a series of mini-marketplaces. That’s why last year prices in places like Dublin, Cork and Galway as well as other urban areas were stabilising at a rate that was completely at odds with what was happening in more rural residential markets,” CIF director general Tom Parlon said.
Earlier this week, the ratings agency warned that property prices in Ireland could fall by another 20 per cent before hitting bottom, on top of the almost 50 per cent decline to date.
Its outlook for property prices in Ireland was worse than for any other of the 12 countries assessed in its Global Market Outlook for Housing and Mortgage Lending, including the other peripheral states.
However, Fitch stated that, in contrast to other markets, it had adopted a conservative approach in its assumptions about the downside risks to the Irish market.
Mr Parlon said the analysis by Fitch should have included the increase in mortgage lending recorded during the last few months of 2012.
“It will also need to take into account the extra lending by Permanent TSB, which will increase the mortgage-lending options available to potential purchasers. Obviously with prices having contracted significantly in recent years the increased affordability of housing should also be factored into consideration,” Mr Parlon said.
The CIF said it agreed with scepticism voiced by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan on the report.
Mr Noonan had suggested the ratings agency was out of touch with the Irish market, having produced no evidence to back up its claims.
He said the report was a “pretty ambiguous kind of assessment”.