Dublin property bubbles stretch back 300 years

Research shows there were worse crashes and recovery took centuries

The most recent property crash was just one in a long line of Irish booms and busts recorded over the last 300 years and not even close to being the worst, according to a major piece of research published in The Irish Times today.

A comprehensive house price index of 10 key streets across Dublin city, compiled by financial analyst Karl Deeter, Frank Quinn of the Blackrock Further Education Institute and David Duffy of the Economic and Social Research Institute, has traced house sales over the last 300 years and generated results which are both comforting and terrifying.

According to their research, Dublin’s property market was completely devastated in the first-half of the 20th century and a decades-long crash saw real values fall by almost 90 per cent between 1906 and 1947.

The duration of property crashes has also been described in the working paper.


Ups and downs

While the property market has appeared to recover in the Republic to some degree since the bubble burst in 2007, a true recovery can take centuries. In real values, property in Dublin cost less in 1944 than in 1744.

To compile their property price paper, the team trawled through over 20,252 deeds covering Parnell Street, Capel Street, Ushers Quay, Merchants Quay, Bachelors Walk, Meath Street, Patrick Street, South Anne Street, St Stephen’s Green and Henrietta Street.

They found homes bought and sold by historic figures including Arthur Guinness, Charles Stewart Parnell, Daniel O'Connell and Jonathan Swift.

“The core story, though, is that of ordinary people who leased and bought homes in Dublin city, riding the same market ups and downs that we all face today,” Mr Deeter said.

“We believe research like this can help us avoid repetitions of a now well-established pattern of booms and busts.”

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor