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Saturday 1 October 2016

Rate of price rises in city 'almost double' this year despite mortgage rules

Dublin property prices rising (Stock picture)
Dublin property prices rising (Stock picture)

Dublin house price growth has "rebounded" in the first fourth months of the year, the director of research at Savills has said.

John McCartney said house price inflation in the capital has almost doubled since the beginning of 2016, rising steadily from 2.6pc to 4.6pc.

It comes as the Central Bank once again highlighted that the evidence would need to be significant if its tough mortgage rules are to be altered.

It suggested that a solution for the housing shortage should not be sought through an easing of the rules.

Speaking at a conference, Mr McCartney said the mortgage rules from the Central Bank have been more of a "bump" than a "lasting barrier to house price growth".

"If you freeze people out of buying their own homes they have to rent. This just inflates rents and attracts investors who drive up prices by competing for properties," Mr McCartney said.

He added that house price growth is expected to accelerate to 5.5pc by the middle of the year due in part to continued investor activity.

"House prices in Dublin actually fell in May and June last year," he said. "So even modest growth this summer will lead to a sharp increase in the annual inflation rate.

Harder

"Strong price increases outside Dublin last year have made it harder and harder to sustain the same growth rate. In addition, regional markets are suffering from the fact that prices in those locations caught-up somewhat with the larger urban markets in 2015."

It comes as the Central Bank has said it accepts that its tough mortgage deposit rules have impacted the ability of people to buy a property, but stressed the measures are designed to protect the system and limit the risk of another credit boom.

Central Bank deputy governor Sharon Donnery insisted again that the evidence needed to change the rules would be "significant" as she set out details of a public call for evidence into their impact.

"We acknowledge that our measures impact individuals' ability to access credit and purchase homes," Ms Donnery said.

"However, these loan-to- value and loan-to-income ratio limits are designed to protect the system as a whole and limit the risk of a house-price-credit cycle emerging once again. In this context we must take a medium to long-term view."

Ms Donnery said the measures, enacted in February of last year, were introduced as a permanent and structural feature of the Irish mortgage market.

"The evidence threshold to justify adjustments to these rules is significant," she said.

"While the housing shortage is widely acknowledged, housing shortfall issues must primarily be addressed by other targeted policies."

The call for evidence will remain open from today until August 10. Property prices nationwide rose again in April, the latest month for which data is available.

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