The first quarter of 2012 saw the smallest decline in asking prices since the market began to fall in 2007, according to the latest Daft.ie House Price Report. Prices fell by 1.4% on average during the first three months of the year, compared to 8% in the final three months of 2011. The national average asking price is now €177,000, down 52% from the peak.
In Dublin and Galway city centres, the average asking price rose by 4% and 2.3% respectively. Prices in all other city centres were down including Cork which fell by 5%, Waterford 7% and Limerick 1%. Elsewhere in the country, prices fell by an average of 2.2%.
The total number of properties available for sale nationwide is now 54,000, the lowest it has been in four years. This, coupled with an increase in the number of properties selling within four months (rising from 30% in December to 33% in March), suggests evidence of increased activity in the market.
Offaly & West Leinster
In the West Leinster counties of Laois, Westmeath, Offaly and Longford, asking prices were largely stable in the first three months of 2012, rising by an average of 0.2%, compared to a fall of 8.5% between September and December. The average asking price in Offaly for the first quarter of 2012 was €148,591. This represents a 2% rise from the previous quarter.
Ronan Lyons, Economist at Daft.ie, said: “The latest figures, which suggest more stable asking prices and increased activity, may come as something of a surprise, given general economic conditions. It is possible that the market was waiting to see if the substantial reductions seen in late 2011 would have an impact. Optimists will also point out that, compared to fundamentals such as rents and incomes, prices in areas such as Dublin city centre do not seem unrealistic. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that prices will stabilise nationally until there is a substantial increase in activity, which itself will require mortgage lending by banks.”