Celtic Tiger property prices: are we there yet?

Average price of a house in Dublin is now in excess of . . . €500,000

How many times do you read about property prices being close to or back at Celtic Tiger levels? I'll bet it's often. A quick Google search confirms as much.

Whether or not prices have reached the same levels they were nearly 14 years ago hardly makes a blind bit of difference to those struggling to buy. Yet the excesses of the Celtic Tiger era stand as some sort of yardstick of dysfunction in our minds, a measure of how bad things got, can get. Hence the comparisons keep coming.

The latest official numbers from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) tell us that house prices rose by 14.4 per cent last year and that the average price of a home nationally in 2021 was €326,457. In Dublin, the average price was over a half million euros, €506,667 to be exact.

So how do these figures compare to the Celtic Tiger period?


The CSO data, which are based on stamp duty returns, only goes back to 2010. Prior to that the Department of Housing used to publish an average price series. This, however, makes a distinction between new and existing dwellings, which makes comparisons a little tricky.

Latest CSO data

Nonetheless, the department’s series indicates that the highest average price for a new house nationally peaked at €331,947 in the second quarter of 2007 and at €389,871 for existing house in the third quarter of 2006. In Dublin, the peak was €549,330 for existing houses in the third quarter of 2006 and €426,900 for new houses in the second quarter of 2007.

The CSO’s latest data tells us that the average price for a new home in Dublin last year was €515,000, which is above the peak value in the previous series. However, the average price paid for an existing home in the capital in 2021 was €503,000, which is below the previous peak.

However, the CSO insists the index value of its Residential Property Price Register is the most reliable barometer of where things stand as it adjusts for changes in quality, house type and other characteristics. According to that, Dublin prices are still 11 per cent lower than at the peak in February 2007.

We might be fast approaching Celtic Tiger property values, but we’re not there yet.