House prices show slight decline in January

But analysts warn against reading too much into figures as cash buyers excluded from CSO data

House prices showed a slight decline in January, according to the CSO. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

House prices showed a slight decline in January, according to the CSO. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Thu, Feb 27, 2014, 13:08

House prices fell by for the first time in almost a year last with the Central Statistics Office recording a decline of 0.7 per cent in January compared with an increase of 0.3 per cent in December.

The new CSO figures published this morning put residential property prices 6.3 per cent higher than they were 12 months earlier but the month on month decline is the first recorded fall since March of last year.

The majority of the monthly decline accounted for by a 1.3 per cent fall in Dublin’s property prices.

While the figures show house prices in Dublin down 1.3 per in January they are still 13.2 per cent higher than they were at the same time last year.

The average selling price of a Dublin apartment fell by 0.2 per cent in January but it is still 16.7 per cent higher that it was in January 2013.

Outside the capital, the price of residential properties was unchanged in January.

Despite the small gains, house prices in Dublin have fallen 48.2 per cent since their peak in early 2007, with apartments falling by 54.6 per cent. That figure is slightly lower around the rest of the country, with an average decline of 46.8 per cent.

“While today’s data suggests that the significant price increases seen in much of 2013 (in Dublin) may not be sustained in 2014, it is too early to suggest that the general trend of higher prices may be changing, particularly with January being a quiet month for property transactions,” Glas Securities said in a note.

That view was echoed by Merrion Stockbrokers, who noted cash buyers were also affecting the market.

“We wouldn’t read too much into this fall. January is traditionally a poor month for the housing market, and things won’t have been helped this year by the storm-like conditions across the country,” said Alan McQuaid. “Furthermore, the official CSO data are based on mortgage draw-downs and don’t give a true sense of what is going on in the property market because they exclude cash transactions. According to some estate agents, cash buyers account for around half of activity at the moment.”

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