Rising interest rates and energy costs have combined to cause Dublin city three-bed semi prices to fall for the first time in three years, the Q4 REA Average House Price Index has revealed.
The actual selling price of a three-bedroomed semi-detached house across the country rose by 0.36% over the past three months to €291,667 – representing an annual increase of 8%.
However, house prices in Dublin have fallen slightly by -0.34% in the same period, as mortgage interest rate rises and cost of living increases stem the stream of potential homeowners.
The REA Average House Price Survey concentrates on the actual sale price of Ireland's typical stock home, the three-bed semi, giving an accurate picture of the second-hand property market in towns and cities countrywide.
Time taken to reach sale agreed has risen steadily from mid-year in Dublin and now stands at six weeks as REA agents reported a less frenzied approach to viewing and buying and a slowdown in bank funding turnaround times.
“Following a frenetic start to the year, the market has slowed somewhat, with affordability having a definite effect on demand,” said REA spokesperson Barry McDonald.
“This is illustrated by Dublin’s postcode districts, where prices average €495,833, seeing a slight fall back on its end-September figure for the first time since 2019.
“However, north county Dublin, where the average sale is €416,670, saw a small rise of 0.4%, with agents REA Grimes reporting that homes which are priced correctly are attracting multiple bidders.
“There is no doubt that throughout the capital and commuter areas, interest rate rises have had an impact on buyer and sellers’ decision making, leading to viewer numbers decreasing and a longer time to reach sale agreed.
“We are still seeing a lot of investors selling their properties and there is a feeling that more landlords may put their properties on the market once the ban on evictions is lifted in March.”
First time buyers now make up 61% of the market, according to REA agents, a rise of 3% since September. This figure rises to 73% in Dublin.
The biggest percentage falls came in commuter counties where average prices went from €314,667 to €312,778 – a drop of -0.44%.
Time taken to sell in these areas has doubled to six weeks from three in June, with Wicklow (-1.1%), Meath (-0.8%) showing price drops and Kildare and Louth remaining static, but with time taken to reach sale agreed increasing.
Cities outside the capital experienced a 1.7% rise to an average selling price of €309,000.
Cork city prices increased by 1.4% to €355,000 in the past quarter with 40% of homes being sold to first time buyers.
Agents REA O’Donoghue and Clarke report an increase in properties coming to the market due to landlords exiting and while the level of bidding has slowed there is significant demand in the city and its surrounding towns.
Limerick city saw prices increase by 1.9% to €270,000 with agents REA Dooley reporting an increase in listings in the past quarter with some vendors feeling that prices may be close to peaking.
While Galway city recorded a 0.3% increase in the last quarter to €311,000, houses in the county have risen by over 24% in the past 12 months from €178,000 to €220,000 – showing the biggest annual increase in the country.
Agents REA McGreal Burke report that many new purchasers are considering the county towns as Galway City properties are beyond their budgets.
The country’s large towns saw a 1.2% quarterly increase to €209,690, with Dungarvan agent REA Spratt pointing out that there has been an increase in buyers looking to towns which provide a full range of services in order to minimise transportation costs.
The survey found that a quarter of purchasers in this sector were from were from outside the county as buyers move for value.
The most affordable county in Ireland is Donegal, which saw prices rise by 3.6% in the past quarter, with the average now selling for €145,000, up €17,500 in the last year.
Supply levels are poor in the county, according to local agent REA McElhinney. With the cost of construction rising, it is still cheaper to buy than build a house, meaning price inflation due to a scarcity of new-build properties coming to the market.
In Kerry, prices dropped by €7,500 to €292,500, with the number of viewings down 30%.
With very few new homes on the horizon, properties are still selling but deals are taking longer to complete according to agents REA Coyne and Culloty.