House prices rose 12.4% in year to May but rate of growth is slowing

Residential Property Price Index shows prices up 77.7% compared with 2013 trough

The highest house price growth was in Dublin city, at 14.6 per cent. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The highest house price growth was in Dublin city, at 14.6 per cent. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

House prices jumped 12.4 per cent in the year to the end of May, but the rate of growth slowed compared with the previous month, new figures show.

The Residential Property Price Index, published by the Central Statistics Office, indicated a slowdown in the year to May compared with April’s figures, when prices rose 13.5 per cent.

In the capital, residential property prices increased 10.7 per cent in the year to May. Within that number, house prices increased 10.3 per cent, and apartments increased 13.5 per cent in the same period.

The highest house price growth was in Dublin city, where it stood at 14.6 per cent. The lowest growth was in south Dublin, where house prices increased 6.6 per cent.

Residential property prices in the rest of the State were 14.1 per cent higher in the year to May. House prices outside Dublin increased 13.7 per cent over the period. Apartment prices outside Dublin increased 15.5 per cent.

The midwest region showed the fastest pace of price growth, with house prices increasing 22.1 per cent. The Border region showed the slowest rate of price growth, with house prices increasing 3.7 per cent.

Overall, the national index is 20.4 per cent lower than its highest level on the eve of the financial crash in 2007.

Dublin residential property prices are 22.5 per cent lower than their February 2007 peak, while residential property prices outside Dublin are 25.5 per cent lower than their May 2007 peak.

From the trough in early 2013, prices nationally have increased 77.7 per cent.

In Dublin prices have increased 91.9 per cent from their February 2012 low, while outside the capital they are 71.4 per cent higher than the trough.

Hot potato

Merrion Capital economist Alan McQuaid said housing has now overtaken health as the “main political hot potato”.

“The key focus in Budget 2018 was on measures/initiatives that should help alleviate the problems going forward, but unfortunately things won’t change overnight,” he said. “But at least the Government has acknowledged that something dramatic needs to be done, and sooner rather than later.

“However, as we wait for the measures to come through, residential property prices will continue to rise, although anecdotal evidence suggests house price growth may have started to ease, especially in Dublin.

“Still, we see house price growth staying in positive territory on a year-on-year basis for the immediate future. The biggest rise this year is likely to come from outside the capital, with the asking price for houses in more expensive areas rising at a slower rate.”

Mr McQuaid said changes to Central Bank Ireland rules mean that in more expensive areas, the trend of increasing house prices would not be as pronounced.

“Previously, up to a fifth of mortgages were allowed to exceed a loan-to-income ratio of 3½,” he said. “But this is becoming even tighter in 2018, with only 10 per cent of those trading up allowed to breach that rule.

“The allocation remains unchanged for first-time buyers. Dublin prices will be out of reach for more borrowers as a result, while in other areas where buyers will not need to borrow as much, prices will see stronger growth.”