There was €10.1bn in housing transactions in 2015, up 8% on the €9.3bn in 2014 according to the latest update of the Property Price Register.
There were 45,276 transactions, up 4.6% on 2014, this is the strongest level since 2008.
Furthermore, cash buyers continue to account for close to half of transactions. In the first three quarters, there were 17,223 mortgage loans for house purchase associated with drawdowns of €3.2bn.
There were 34,326 residential property market transactions over the same period, with mortgage lending accounting for only 50.2% of the total.
Davy believe the sustained demand from cash buyers is a little surprising given that capital gains tax exemptions expired last year. That said, estate agents have reported significant numbers of first-time buyers and mover purchasers financing their transactions with cash. With bank deposit rates close to zero, residential property is still attractive for many investors.
Transactions are likely to have grown by 7% in 2015 once all transactions are recorded. The transactions data show stronger growth in activity levels outside the capital. Transactions recorded in Dublin are up 2.5% on last year’s total but are up by 7% in Cork, 8% in Galway and 13% in Limerick.
According to Davy: “The bigger picture is that the housing market is still illiquid. The 45,276 transactions represent just over 2% of the housing stock, so the average home is being sold just once every 44 years.
“Transactions are being held back by the lack of home building, with just 12,500 completions expected in 2015 – below the estimated 25,000 required to match natural demographic demand.”