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Uncertainty in housing market continues

Uncertainty in housing market continues

Ciara Moynihan

The unsettled outlook for house prices looks to certain continue to plague potential home buyers and sellers alike, with conflicting reports not helping to bring much clarity.
The latest reports from leading property websites MyHome.ie and Daft.ie paint two dramatically different pictures of house-price trends, not only here in Mayo, but also nationally. Neither picture is particularly attractive, however.
According to MyHome.ie, house prices declined nationally by 2.4 per cent in the last quarter (September-December 2011) and by 13 per cent overall in 2011. The 2011 In Review report published by property website Daft.ie, however, finds that asking prices for residential property around the country fell by an average of 7.7 per cent between September and December – ‘the sharpest three-month fall in prices to date’ – bringing the percentage fall in prices over the course of 2011 to 18 per cent, as large as the fall seen in 2009.
The MyHome.ie report claims the average price for a home nationally is now €236,000, as opposed to €241,000 three months ago. However, the Daft.ie report maintains the average asking price is now just over €175,000, 52 per cent below the 2007 peak of €366,000.
When it comes to Mayo, MyHome.ie finds that the prices of four-bed semi-detached homes in the county fell 2.8 per cent in the fourth quarter (Q4) and now stand at an average of €175,000. During the same period, it says, the average price of three-bed semis remained unchanged in the county at €165,000.
According to the Daft.ie report, asking prices fell in Connacht by an average of 7.2 per cent in the final three months of 2011, compared to a fall of 2.7 per cent between June and September. The same report found that the average asking price in Mayo in late 2011 was €164,000 – a fall of €102,000 from the peak.
The Daft.ie report also found that in Dublin, about one half of properties sell within six months, while in Connacht and Ulster, it takes a full year for the same proportion to sell.
Author of the MyHome.ie report, Annette Hughes, Director DKM Economic Consultants, said the economy remains in a fragile position and that the prospects for economic growth in 2012 remain uncertain.
Meanwhile, Ronan Lyons, economist at Oxford University and author of the Daft.ie report, said: “It is tempting to see larger house price falls as a bad thing and no doubt many, particularly those in negative equity, will see this dramatic fall in those terms.
“However, if the size of the correction in house prices is determined by fundamental factors, then it is better for the prices to race to the finishing line than crawl there.”
Both reports are available in full at the respective websites.