House prices globally on upward march again

Fall-off in values triggered by rapid surge in interest rates appears to have bottomed out

The global house price decline – the one triggered by a rapid surge in interest rates in 2022 – appears to be over. Data from multiple countries, including Ireland, show the fall in prices has bottomed out with values on an upward trend again.

Part of it of relates to the prospect of lower interest rates later this year.

Australia and New Zealand, two bellwether markets that reacted quickly and negatively to the rise in borrowing costs, are growing again.

In the EU, prices rose at a nominal rate of 0.8 per cent quarter on quarter in the three months to September, reversing the fall seen at the start of the year, Eurostat data shows.


The latest Irish figures show prices nationally rose by 4.4 per cent in the 12 months to December with the rate of price growth rising for four consecutive months. Prices were up by 1.5 per cent on a monthly basis, the fastest level of monthly growth seen in nearly two years.

A perfect storm of still-high mortgage rates and rising home prices and historically low levels of housing stock puts home ownership out of reach for many.

The first-time-buyers segment of the market here is aided by the various Government-backed help-to-buy schemes. The latest official figures show the cost of new dwellings in the fourth quarter of 2023 were 9.2 per cent higher than in the corresponding quarter of 2022, double the headline rate of inflation for all homes.

Where the next gyration of the market brings us is anyone’s guess. The optimistic notion that rising wages combined with moderately rising house prices could bridge the affordability gap in favour of buyers while easing the pressure on the rental market remains an economic paradigm that never really plays out.