Property register brings clarity for buyers
The new house price register offers early positive indicators about the market, and invaluable information for the future
THE NEW property price register has been hailed for bringing transparency to a market which has been riddled with “spoofery” for decades. While it won’t fix the sector overnight or remove boom and bust cycles it will equip buyers and sellers with much needed information and make accurate trend-spotting easier, experts have said.
An early assessment of the register’s data offers positive indicators that the property sector has stabilised, with the number of houses being sold so far this year up significantly on last year but that is not to say the market has suddenly returned to good health. Far from it.
The Central Bank warned yesterday that it could take nearly 20 years for the market to recover and the register shows that transactions are more than 80 per cent off what they should be in a properly functioning market.
However, the downward spiral that reached its nadir in 2011 appears to have been reversed and with sales increases, property prices appear to have also risen – by more than 1 per cent this summer, with desirable areas seeing a sharper spike.
The increased activity has been particularly noticeable in Dublin where there has been a 45 per cent increase in the number of sales when compared with the first nine months of last year. Up until the end of last month 4,774 houses were sold in the capital compared with 3,295 over the same period last year. The number was 4,562 in 2010.
The rise in the rate of transactions is repeated in other urban centres. Between January and August this year 603 properties sold in Galway compared with just 501 in 2010 and 604 in 2010. The 2012 number in Cork was 1,429, compared with 1,204 last year and 1,419 in 2010.
The managing director of DNG, Keith Lowe, said the increase in transactions seen on the register backs up what his agents are reporting. “There is a change in sentiment and a lot of renters are getting nervy,” he said. “You also have many first-time buyers who want to jump before the end of the year to take advantages of tax relief which will be worth up to €7,000.”
He cautioned that severe problems remained and will have to be addressed. “The real stumbling block remains mortgage finance,” he said. He pointed out that less than 1 per cent of the housing stock changed hands last year. “I would have thought that stock turnover should have been between 3 and 4 per cent.”
Lowe said the register might make the market more realistic. “If the register had been in place during the boom, I think it might have controlled prices. People would have seen how much houses were selling for on a particular street and maybe held off on bidding wildly in excess of that amount for a similar property.”