2nd August 2006
Like any self-respecting seven year old, I used to spend childhood Saturday mornings watching cartoons on TV. The one I best remember had Tweety bird being chased around by a cat somewhere in the vicinity of the grand canyon. Over the cliff flies the bird. Somehow, the cat follows. After a ten yard run on thin air the cat stops, looks down and hurtles to the bottom leaving a ring of smoke on impact.
Like most other asset markets, house prices are driven by both fundamentals and confidence. When confidence departs from fundamentals, we're in trouble. For fundamentals read the state of our economy, our personal finances, interest rate levels, and a few more. Fundamentals are rational. Confidence isn't. In the cartoon the cat keeps going over thin air until he looks down; it's when he actually realizes that the ground beneath his feet has vanished that the fall happens. So it is with overvalued asset prices. As long as buyers are confident that prices will continue to rise, they do. When enough people lose faith, a slide is hard to stop. But how do we know when prices have departed from fundamentals?
Thankfully the cliff analogy is a bit extreme. Irish house prices are not hanging over the edge of a canyon. A sloping hillside is a more accurate, and comforting, analogy. Somewhat overvalued, the gap between where we are and where we should be isn't yet critical, a fall of several, rather than hundreds, of feet. But if house price inflation doesn't moderate soon, the gap could soon become too large to avoid a very painful correction.
Last September the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a high level think tank, calculated that Irish house prices were 15 per cent overvalued. But with house price inflation slowing to 5 per cent back then, the Central Bank was unconcerned: Provided house price inflation remained a few points below the rate of growth in nominal incomes, any overvaluation would correct in over two or three years without any need for a fall in house prices. The re-acceleration of the rate of house price inflation - as calculated by the Daft.ie House Price Index - to 14 per cent in April is scary. So is the equally rapid slowdown to 6.2 per cent by July. Is a downturn in the market going to happen?
Despite some overvaluation in the market, this is unlikely. Two fundamental events justify the reacceleration in prices since this time last year. As last year drew to a close, the expected release of SSIA moneys, which began this May, became bankable as deposit leverage. The second more significant event was that at the turn of the year banks became much more liberal with mortgage lending policies. Old multiples of gross income went out. New, and more liberal, measures of net income came in. More important still was the lengthening of mortgage repayment periods - with 40 year mortgages now not uncommon.
So the recent price resurgence is 'fundamental' in nature: The stock of credit available for house purchase increased significantly in a short space of time, but the supply of houses in sought after areas did not. Throw more money after the same amount of goods and prices rise: It's the oldest law in economics.
The question is what happens next? Give or take a percentage point or two, the 15 per cent overvaluation that the OECD spotted last year is still there: The fact that the latest Daft.ie Asking Price Index shows buy-to-let yields remaining very low confirms the picture.
For a soft landing, several things need to happen. In his next and last pre-election budget, Brian Cowen will probably want to ease the burden of stamp duty for first time buyers. The reintroduction of a differential stamp duty regime between owner occupiers and investors - tried but reversed in 2002 - may also be a prospect. Those changes will help cool price pressures and, provided they are phased in over several years, won't frighten the horses (announcing a programme of stamp duty reductions over a three year time period could be electorally appealing).
The more important long-term issue is supply. To some, the recent resurgence in house prices is puzzling, in spite of all the extra credit sloshing around the market. How can it be, they ask, that 86,000 houses are being built a year, 21 houses per thousand of the population and the highest rate in Europe, and yet house price inflation is still accelerating? The answer is the oldest adage in this market: Location, location, location.
As the preliminary census has revealed, population is growing quickly around the commuter belt and outer ring of greater Dublin. But it is actually falling in Dublin proper. Use of land within the M50 is highly inefficient: In a land footprint the size of Berlin, we are housing less than one third of Berlin's 4 million population. Unfortunately this is where people want to live. Interacting with the extra availability of credit, the extraordinarily low density of housing within the city limits is helping to push up prices far higher than elsewhere in Ireland, pushing up the national average rate of house price inflation.
Any sound housing and planning policies will correct this bias by freeing up land in more commutable parts of Dublin, and other major towns. But again, a graduated measured approach to this will be conducive to an orderly correction. The welcome moderation in price inflation provide a good first half of that desired outcome. Government policies are its crucial second half.
It seems that there are mixed messages now coming from the media about what house prices are doing. Some people are saying prices are going up again and Daft says they are slowing down. I hope these Daft figures are true, and that we are in for a soft landing after all.
I'm not too sure about what the market is like outside dublin, but I do know there is no let up in my area (Crumlin) first time buyers seem to be biding crazy prices for property and prices have gone up by a good 50-100 grand over the last two years. It would be very dangerous if this continues cos if it does I can't see it ending any other way other than a spectacular crash.
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As with the previous quarterly report, 'Dublin Commuter Towns' seem to have been ommitted from the first graph - 'Trends in House Prices Nationwide - although the term is defined in the blue box beneath the graph.
I've just noticed that the first graph - House Price Trends Nationwide - has not been updated i.e. it is the same graph that appeared in the Q1 report.
There tends to be a certain spin put on figures by certain commentators. The mantra must be that prices can never fall - so a high year on year growth rate is proof of that, but a drop in house prices in a few months is a slowdown, and much anticipated "soft-landing" and also a proof that the increase in house prices is sustainable. This is in many ways absurd. If house prices have accelerated ahead of incomes they must fall below, and not just match yearly income growth ( which most commentators overestimate at 5%) - it is much lower than that), or else they still stay ahead of fundamentals. Arguing that houseprices increase due to easier credit - as Coleman does - is dubious too. The significant increase in the cost of money this year, and next, must put an end to that game.
The drop is yearly growth from 14+% to 6% is a product of a drop in prices in the last few months. April - as it happened - was the peak of house prices, just up on December - the previous peak. Without the April figures we could argue that house prices haven't reached last year's peak yet this year. And even including the April figure we can argue that 5 out of 6 months are below last years peak. And falling.
not the headlines mentioned this. Why panic y'all?
If house prices are to stop their early year fall ( which is unseasonal) and just maintain their values then by November the year on year growth will be negative. Otherwise we need to see an acceleration in the latter part of the year, which would be argued as being "unsustainable" in retrospect, but never at the time - such is the financial spin around housing.
My feeling is that April 2006 will be the all time peak of house prices, in Ireland.
completely wrong(sept 06).Another 12 months at 12% -moderating thereafter.
nothing wrong with the original analysis by Eoin. The prices have dropped since April by 5%, are not higher than late last year ( lower than November) and there is no mythical 12% growth rate anywhere to be seen. You know, in the actual report that daft.ie produced.The Indo has a report on falling prices today. Exactly what you would expect when the cost of borrowing has almost doubled in a year, and will double, or more before the ned of next year.
Actually the original poster was merely pointing out the actual statistics in the daft report, which shows a peak in April and a fall thereafter - just what you would expect given that the cost of borrowing has risen by 50 % or more since the early part of this year, and may double by the end of last year.
Fundamentally, house prices are dependant on affordability. I feel Marc Coleman doesn't give enough weight to potentially higher interest rates going forward.
Higher interest rates will reduce affordability for owner-occupiers and will reduce buy-to-let rental yields to new lows. Ireland is particularly vulnerable because the ECB controls interest rates and will make decisions based on the German and French economies, which may not suit us. A sloping hillside is possible only if interest rates rise slowly and moderately. An American type situation which has seen interest rises of over 4% is a frightening prospect for the Irish housing market.
Interest rates are not the fundamental factor that yourself and many other self appointed experts believe they are.If they were,how was house price growth of over 10% sustainable year on year from the mid 1990,s when rates were substantially higher,circa 5.5%.Interest rates are only returning to a realistic level from what was an historically low level.Look to the US and Britain where house price growth has been achieved over the last 4 years with interest rates 2% above ECB level.Explain that to me?The fundamental factors driving the property market are confidence and demand.80,000 people entering the country year on year;they have to live somewhere.Yields of between 3 and 4% are still attainable in Dublin and as long as this remains the case investors will continue to drive the market forward.
The increase in the price of housing has no more to do with 'confidence' than it has to do with a mythical improvement in the quality of construction. It has to do with two things: greed on the one hand, and fear on the other.
The 'experts' who regularly expound on the phenomenon invariably come with a vested interest that relates in biassed opinions calculated to influence the pheneomenon,i.e., to further pump up the prices. They can shamelessly come out with things intended to be concessions, such as that 'property is possibly 15% overvalued', when the rate went up almost that amount in April of this year, and when property can cost five times what it did ten years ago.
The greed is manifested in those who wish to profit unreasonably from the sale of property, and the fear in those who have been persuaded that if they do not buy at this very moment they will never ever be able to afford to buy.
Everybody knows that prices cannot keep rising. They are already criminally high - criminally because they are not value for money, and criminally because many buyers will be dispossessed long before the mortgage can be paid, and the government, the banks and building societies, and every other professional involved knows this.
It is time people were persuaded to save for a rainy day rather than to spend everything that they have and would have had as though this were the last day on earth.
Well said judith, me and my girl friend are currently saving for a deposit i would rather wait build up the savings for another 2 to 3 yrs but my girlfriend is adamant about getting a house as soon as possible because of her living situation, i think the greed the boom has brought us is destroyin our country greedy banks, mortgage lenders, property developers and investors are ruining us.
People have to start coppin on and stop this madness borrowing mad amounts of money( which the named above are feeding on) they then spend the rest of there lives paying back. a 30 yr old taking out a 40 yr mortage will be 70!!! by the time its paid off.
Ive worked the past 7 yrs in construction here and abroard and i can tell u now apartments been built today in dublin are crap, floors are lowered in by crane, toilet pods are then dropped in place, (a pod in a concrete block with a door on it inside is a toilet, bath, comes tiled mirrors the whole lot,)then the kitchen pods drop in , then they sit walls in and roof which is then level 1 apartments floor. compare that to the old solid built corpo houses built in the 60s.
But people are frightened that if they dont buy now they will never be able to afford it. i myself dont know wat to do any advise on this would greatly appreciated
I am not sure that saving all your money for many years is the answer. You may be very dissapointed to find that the price of a property has gone up twice as much as you have saved. Okay if everyone agreed to stop buying property then the crash would come. But as soon as we started back into the market, prices would shoot up again. Accept it or not, as long as we (or those whose business depends on promoting the property sector) can devise some means of financing property purchase prices will go up to match our ingenuity.
Perhaps someone else can propose another solution, but for now if you want to own property you save enough as quickly as you can, beg borrow from friends, employers and relatives,do whatever is legal and get on the property ladder. (Some of these people, despite your best efforts will thwart all your efforts to return the money to them, decline interest payments etc.Cheque payments stuffed in their letter boxes late at night will never be cashed or acknowledged. But do not worry about tax implications concerning gift tax etc. and you can quote a most senior politician in the country's view on this that you have not broken any law etc.)
Another approach is to buy one of those €50,000 ( prices vary) holiday places abroad in Spain ( not Costa Del Sol - Try East Coast fro Alicante down to Almeria), Bulgaria, Croatia, Morrocco etc. Not only do you get it cheap, a place to go on holidays between times when its not let.In due course if you buy well the price will go up enough for you to perhaps get into the property market back here if you sell well. Meanwhile avail of cheaper rents here now (or ask Mam?Dad can you convert the garage into a bedsit with your own private door to the world outside).
I have to lay the blame for this situation concerning the difficulty in getting suitable affordable property with all our politicians over the last 40 years. The scandal of land prices manipulated to make the few rich and the many poor is all too clear. These politicians, or the majority of them, ( from the Councillors right up to the top), have stood by and allowed this happen. They know they can manipulate all arrangements on so called Social Housing by exchanging token amounts of money from the developers to make it look like they are doing something and we ejits will stand by and re-elect them. At the end of the day where are these houses (apart from the token few in disadvantaged areas)and in 10 years time we can pay for a tribunal to examine what went wrong. In the Dublin area 25 to 30 years ago Dublin County Council and Dublin Corporation had purchased huge tracts of land in advance and then handed over to developers. They could have retained the land and invited builders to build houses on it at competitive prices and with the sites as a seperate low cost transaction in the deal with purchasers. Now they are allowing the builders to cram us into little 2 storey over single story boxes, and coupled with adjacent traffic jams, this is no way to live.Very soon the box you live, sleep etc. in will be the same size as the one you get buried in (refer to Japan for prototype) Would the leaders of 1916 endorse this turn of events. I'm sure Padraig Pearse would have had something to say about paying the toll over the jammed West Link Bridge and all the other scandals on all these developments that we have to suffer.
Excuse me for being a bit flippant on this issue. I have one daughter who last year managed with some help to get a 35 year mortage and a house and another who, despite my offer of some help, just refuses to engage in the stressfull endeavour and says that if its an issue with her in the future she will just emigrate so as not to have to put up with the challenge. She thinks this country is getting too crowded in any event.
My final advice is for you to find a way, any way, of getting a reasonable property as soon as possible. I despair meanwhile of the powers coming up with some other solution for you. If thats your ambition dont wait too long.
Alternatively commit yourself to renting, it has become cheaper, the quality etc. has gone up, and you have good secure rights up to 4 years. After that its a matter of coming to some arrangement in the family home if thats an option and not to wear out the parents in the process. After that then theres only 20 million people in Australia which is bigger than the USA or Europe. There has to be some space for you there.
I am moving home after spending 10 years in edinburgh. I am a property owner over here and would strongly advise anyone to forget about buying in dublin. property prices have grown steadly for the past 7 years average 6%. 3 - 4 bedroom house 8 miles for the city centre can still be got for less than £200k.
easy communte and the goverments incentive of moving goverment offices to other scottish towns have meant the population of edinburgh has never increased above 600,000 and more than likely never will because of the strict laws on building on the green belt.
i would agree greed is the major factor when buying houses, last year there was 44 repossessions by high street lenders in ireland, Halifax repossessed nearly 500 in the uk last year alone. i can see this happening in ireland in a few years.
any advise to first time buyers buy abroad. bali indonesian guaranteeing 1000% return in rental income over 5 years.
can you tell me where you got the information about the amount of house repossessions in Ireland.
whaoouuu... back in 2006 what a great advice given to push people on the property ladder. bulls***t, completely crap, stay at home, You clearly lack of knowledge in the matter, all these so-called experts would like us today to forget about them and their supposed brilliant brains.
Now thousands of Irish are paying a huge price for your madness and incompetence.
Please shut your mouth and give us holidays, not in Spain - oh look there is a crash there also, how can it be ?..-
Well said, Judith. It's high time somebody spoke the truth about the dastardly property situation.
And well done, daft.ie for having the courage and broadmindedness to publish her letter. There cannot be many property sites that would be as fair-minded, and there cannot be any in Ireland.
Data is needed on quantity of unsold properties on the market at any point in time. This can be compared from one point to next.
The problem with stats on house price rises is that they dont take account of properties which are not selling.
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property will be bought by those who can ....and those who cant will frighten the market along.After ten years or so when those who can ....sell to those who couldnt then,they will do all the protecting of the market that they then thought they shouldnt. I am one of them . good luck.
In 2003/04 i spent 18 months looking to buy a home in Dublin. I got outbid everytime by people willing to pay 50 to 100k above the asking price for a bog standard 3-bed semi-d in suburbia. Dublin was my hometown but I could not compete with that stupidity so i took the 175k i had in the bank and invested in a 1-bed top floor flat in London in a great location. That 1-bed flat is now renting for 900 sterling a month. I bought it for 300k Euro. Now thats what i call a wise purchase and i'm now glad i made the decision not to buy or stay in Dublin. First-time buyers in Dublin need to cop themselves on. There are other, less expensive and nicer places to live, raise a family and work in Ireland and indeed the rest of the world.
If you didn't buy a house in Dublin before 1996 then forget about it. The prospect of renting in Dublin for the rest of your days is a bleak situation top be in but we all have choices in life. Either stay and pay stupid money or leave.
Irish house prices are certainly not being driven by a shortage of housing. According to a Davy report, in 2005 some 40,000 housing units were built surplus to occupation requirements. In 2006 the preliminary census report says the population is rising by around 2000 a week. Sounds a lot until you compare with the estimate for housing completions for this year - about 1750 per week. Personally I think the 2000 extra people (mainly east europeans) will house themselves in less than 800 units. Even allowing for Irish needing more housing for holiday homes, or as a result of marriage breakup, the current production of housing seems to be running at an excess of at least 800 per WEEK. Anyone for a few more buy-to-lets?
I wonder what the real impact of this is going to be and how it can be contained in the coming years.
It's not just about house prices, it's about how we are living. Everyone enjoys prosperity but what's going to happen when there is just simply not enough space to support the insatiable appetite that seems to be in place.
Ireland is a small country growing perhaps out of proportion with it's own ability to sustain it. There is only so much growth that can occur before we see a reality check. Maybe it's about people bringing back their own sense of value rather than just thinking about what they can make from it. Everything is transitory.
Ah the doom and gloom self appointed property experts are out in force here I see!Some of ye have been pridicting this dramatic collapse for 10 years or more now,and have yet to be right.Point number 1 is that if house prices are moderating it will only be by 10% max,which would only bring them back to the last years level,nothing too dramatic there,nobody,s going to panic too much about that.
Second point is that interest rates are only going to go to 4% max,anymore and the ECB would choke off the emerging recovery in Germany and France.The point must also be made that rates are rising from an historically low level and the increases are being well signalled and offset somewhat by increase in the tax bands and income.Can someone explain how house price growth of over 10% was sustainable from 1995 onwards when rates were substantially higher?Just look across the water or to the US or Australia where mortgage rates are between 1 and 2% higher than here,yet house prices continue to grow.
Third point is that confidence and demand are the drivers of the property market in Ireland.80,000 peope entering the country every year,they have to live somewhere.Investors are contining to buy as yields of between 3 and 4% are still attainable in Dublin.Fair play to them,they are taking the risk and they deserve the rewards of capital appreciation.I don,t hold with this begrudgery which as a nation we arenow famous for.
You would be welcome to contribute your views here http://www.askaboutmoney.com/showthread.php?t=31710 I am sure you would get a great response.
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Can't wait to see the latest report. It's a pity that this info is not readily available in realtime.
One method for researching price changes is via Google's cached pages of daft, etc.
Without much effort I have collated 71 examples of price drops: http://irishhousepricesfalling.blogspot.com/
Points made are interesting but really refer only to issues at play in the Dublin and Dublin commuter zone. The reality is that prices are rising rapidly in remote country villages that are stretching the definition of commuting to the limit are in some cases as steep as rises in Dublin. The real problem is sustainable building practices - why do small villages with populations of less than 3k need apartment blocks? Why is it necessary to overcrowd a town or village with new dwellers BEFORE authorities are forced to put in schools, community services etc?
Where I live in Cork, there not even a guarantee that the council will take you as a customer for kerbside waste collections, unless they already "service your area" - how incredible is that? It means that large proportions of the rural Cork community are effectively without a municipal waste collection service? Yet the same county council seem to have no problem approving developments of medium to large sized housing estates in these areas - despite the fact that they themselves deny essential services to them? I ask again - how backward is this?
Queues outside schools in Swords for places? Why has no commentator ever bothered to inform the public that the reason most of these parents are queueing outside this school is because local families are a 30-40 minute walk (about 2-3 miles) from the alternative schools? Or that this area was Ray Burke's famous original planning coup? Why did we conveniently "forget" the outrageous scandal that arose in Ashbourne, Co Meath, in the 80s, when there were 2,000 children of school-going age, but no secondary school - a situation that only changed in the mid 1990s? We are recreating two or three dozen cases like Ashbourne up and down the country - yet not a single local politican brings this up as part of the planning process?
Buy a local newspaper from many very rural areas around the country - and you'll see bargains galore - 190k for 2 bed house in Fermoy, several houses in Daft in Athlone ranging from 130k for a 3 bed to about 200k - and everybodies favourite - Cavan, where you can have an apartment in Ballyconnell for a mere 125k! The big problem is that these areas are rapidly being crowded out by first-time buyers who are priced out of nearby (and even not so nearby) cities. Prices rise quickly - and then its onto the next Ardee or Rathcormac - another 10 miles outside. This is where the prices really are unsustainable - not in moderately well-serviced areas like outer Dublin suburbs or big towns in Cork, but small villages with nothing in them but sprawling housing estates, heavy traffic, and maybe an overpriced Spar.
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