Moody's predicts further property falls


Moody’s has predicted a further fall in the Irish property market, saying that house prices will dip an additional 20 per cent before the market reaches the bottom.

The agency said the market has already fallen by 49.9 per cent from the peak in September 2007 until April 2012.

Moody’s estimates are in line with the Central Statistics Office, which said last month that property prices were down 50 per cent nationally from the peak.

The official figures do not include cash sales, however. Research from Davy Stockbrokers said Irish house prices show no sign of stabilisation, and prices may decline by as much as 70 per cent from peak levels.

In March, Goodbody Stockbrokers estimated that house prices may have fallen by around 60 per cent since the peak, compared with an estimate of 48 per cent from official sources. 

But chief executive of estate agency Sherry FitzGerald Mark FitzGerald said the report was "misguided and misinformed".

"The evidence of the market, which we experience every day, is that house prices in Ireland have already fallen by an average of 60 per cent, and in some places by as much as 65 per cent," he said.

"It is the case that house prices in some parts of the country are continuing to fall, but the likelihood is that in other parts, particularly the cities, prices may start to recover. Indeed there are tentative signs that this is already happening in some areas of the market."

New figures from the Central Bank today showed the outstanding credit to Irish households, including loans for house purchases that have been securitised and are being serviced by resident credit institutions, was €148.4 billion at the end of March.

Mortgages continued to decline in the first quarter of the year, showing a ninth consecutive quarterly fall.

The total value of mortgages outstanding on Irish banks' balance sheets currently stands at €79.9 billion. In contrast, the peak for home loans, including securitised mortgages, peaked in March 2009 at €149 billion.