Collapse in Irish property prices more severe than thought

CSO’s figures reveal first-time buyers have been squeezed out of market since 2010

Ireland’s property market crash was more severe than previously thought while cash buyers are paying significantly less for property than other buyers, according to the new Residential Property Price Index.

The revamped index, launched on Wednesday by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), is based on stamp duty returns rather than mortgage drawdown data and includes for the first time cash transactions, which are said to account for 50 per cent of property sales.

The figures reveal that the peak to trough fall in residential property prices from 2007 to 2013 was 54.4 per cent, not 50.9 per cent as recorded previously.

They also show that recovery in the market since 2013 has been stronger, with prices up on average 43.2 per cent rather than 37.4 per cent as estimated previously.


The CSO’s new figures also reveal that first-time buyers have essentially been railroaded out of the market since 2010. They suggest the first-time buyers’ share of the market fell from 53.1 per cent in 2010 to 24.4 per cent in 2015.

The CSO’s Joe Treacy said the figures showed cash buyers enjoyed a significant discount when compared with other buyers, though this had not been quantified.


The figures, which also use a range of locational information based on Eircodes, reveal a massive variation in the average price paid for property across Dublin, and between the capital and the rest of the country.

With an average price of €733,006, householders paid more for a house in Dublin 6 in 2015 than for any other postal district.

The second most expensive district was Dublin 4, with an average house price of €724,535 while householders paid least in Dublin 10, where the average house price was just €157,527.

Outside of Dublin, Greystones and Bray in Co Wicklow were the two areas with the highest average prices of €404,717 and €363,907 respectively.

They were followed by Kinsale, Co Cork (€359,259), Dunboyne, Co Meath (€352,825), and Celbridge, Co Kildare (€296,899).

The postal code where householders paid the lowest average price in the State was in Castlerea, Co Roscommon, where the average price was €72,350.

This was followed by Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo (€77,215), Belturbet, Co Cavan (€82,759), Longford (€82,759) and Ballymote, Co Sligo (€84,615).

Low point

The index reveals house prices in the Dublin City administrative zone are leading the recovery from a national low point in March 2013, and houses in the mid-west have been the slowest to recover to date.

The CSO’s latest monthly figures show that residential property prices across the State rose 6.7 per cent in the year to July, compared to an annual rate of inflation of 4.9 per cent recorded in June. On a monthly basis, prices increased 2.5 per cent in July compared with a 1 per cent rise in June.

Despite the rise, property prices nationally are still currently 34.7 per cent lower than at their highest level in April 2007.

The CSO’s report noted that prices declined steadily over the years 2010 to 2011 followed by a bottoming out in 2012 to 2013. Since then, prices have risen again, albeit this rise has been uneven with strong regional variations

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times