Dramatic changes to Ireland’s housing market and property prices

The housing market in Ireland has seen phenomenal changes over the last 10 months in response to the global pandemic, according to an article in this week’s Irish Independent.

Talking to the newspaper, one estate agent described the change as a ‘once in a lifetime shift’ in the property market, with property prices in Ireland defying all predictions by holding firm or even increasing substantially.

When the pandemic hit in March, experts had warned that it would lead to the cheapest property prices in years by the time Christmas came around. However, this did not prove to be the case. During the first lockdown, prices were adversely affected but they increased and continued to from the summer onwards.

‘Substantial’ price increases

In Dublin, house sales in most post-code areas evened out or increased, but other counties recorded substantial price increases. The Independent article said there were a number of reasons for the price increases.

The pandemic encouraged Irish people to return to the country from the UK, the US, Australia, Canada and the Emirates. Many of them returned with cash and were looking to buy a property. What also happened as a result in lockdown was that professionals renting in Dublin moved out of the city to work remotely and in large numbers.

The shifts caused huge changes in the Dublin renting market, coupled with university students also moving away to study remotely. Hotel prices dropped sharply too, making it cheaper to live full-time in a hotel than rent an apartment in Dublin city centre.

Demand for housing in counties

Commuters and renters discovered they could work remotely from the counties, and demand for housing in counties grew. Another factor, the paper reports, was the growing gap between the cost of renting and the cost of buying, with mortgage repayments a lot less than rent payments.

Property prices, according the article, are 75 percent of what they were in 2007 just before the global financial crisis, but rents are 40 percent higher all over Ireland. The county locations with big increases in property prices cite the influx of buyers from outside the county as the reason for this.

There has also been a shortage of property for sale, with would-be vendors postponing selling. A surge in home hunters took place in the second part of 2020, pushing up prices perhaps caused by the shortage of homes for sale and fears that mortgage approvals would not go ahead.

Those properties that did see their prices increase so favourably were the ones with broadband, office space, big gardens and amenity benefits.


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