boom or bust are we really facing into a BUBBLE AGAIN?
As homebuyers queue overnight for new homes, we begin a four-part series investigating the real state of property in the city ... and ask if we're really slipping into the grip of another property bubble?
The sight of people queuing overnight to buy houses in Swords a fortnight ago sparked fears that we were returning to the property mania of the Celtic Tiger days.
Today the Herald starts a special property series to see what exactly is going on. Is it a bubble? Is it a boom? Or are we experiencing a whole new phenomenon entirely?
Over the next four days we talk to the experts, we chart the hot-spot areas where the buying and selling is happening and we cover key trends and important issues like gazumping and underbidding.
But firstly where does everyone want to live and where are houses actually selling?
From the start of July last to September 10 last week, Daft.ie, Ireland's largest property website received 19,484 enquiries about residential properties for sale for the Dublin area alone.
The most enquiries for one single area were in Dublin 1 but the biggest fight for homes took place in North Wall, where supply is short.
Ronan Lyons, assistant professor of economics at Trinity College, sums up what he believes exactly is going on.
"The number one question is, are we seeing another bubble?
"But the way I see a bubble is if there's too much credit going around. And that's certainly not happening.
"What we have now is a shortage of supply," stated Mr Lyons, who has also headed up the economic research at Daft.ie since 2004.
He states that the current squeeze is down to shortage because of lack of construction and the high cost of building.
Every auctioneer and estate agent we spoke to agreed with Mr Lyons.
Robert Hoban, director of auctions at Allsop Space, said that a very important issue right now is that there is little or no land left in the city and so building must take place on the outskirts of Dublin.
He pointed to the area of Fingal as a major up-and-coming area because there is a large number of planning applications for developments active there at the moment as well as an abundance of land.
And Ronan O'Driscoll, a director at Sherry Fitzgerald, who was over the sale of the Millers Glen homes in Swords that saw people queuing over night, points directly at shortage.
"A lot of the big builders who used to supply homes have disappeared and there just isn't the volume anywhere near what's needed on the new homes side," Mr O'Driscoll said.
Nevertheless, a small number of homes at Millers Glen remain on sale. David Browne, who is head of new homes in Savills, stated that he would "hate to see people over-hyping things."
And both Mr O'Driscoll and Mr Browne reported that the majority of buyers of residential properties are young couples in their late 20s and early 30s.
"In the first-time buyers' market. the demand is definitely the strongest," Mr O'Driscoll said.
Mr Browne stated that the average age he sees is people in their early 30s, who have been renting for the last seven years and have "huge" savings of between 30 and 40pc.
Starting today, we will map each key area in Dublin and show you where the demand is, how many people have been fighting it out for a house and where the sales are really happening.
TOMORROW: South Dublin city