Over the five month period from March to July, the CSO’s national residential property price index fell by just 1.8%. This compares to a cumulative 10.6% decline over the previous five month period.
As a result, the year-on-year rate of decline in the index has slowed to 13.6% in July from 17.8% in February.
This CSO index is based on mortgage drawdowns, which may occur several months after the time of sale. Thus, this slowdown in price decline probably began towards the end of last year, it said.
It notes that recent months have seen considerable volatility in monthly price movements – especially when the fact that the index is calculated as a three month moving average is taken into account.
“While this may be indicative of a market that is approaching a turning point, we feel that it is still too soon to call the bottom of the downturn in the Irish housing market, especially given the scope for further receiver/distressed sales and the small data set from which the index is currently being calculated,” it said.
As the index is based on mortgage drawdowns it excludes cash sales, which are currently estimated by Sherry Fitzgerald to be some 40% of the market.
Prices in Dublin have shown the greatest sign that they could be stabilising. While they fell back in June and July, according to the CSO index, this followed three consecutive monthly rises leaving them unchanged over the March-July period. In contrast they had fallen by a cumulative 12.8% over the previous five months.
Meanwhile, apartments, both in Dublin and elsewhere, continue to underperform houses. The index for Dublin house prices actually rose by 0.3% over the March-July period. However, that for apartments fell by 4.1%. Apartments have also performed worse at a national level, with cumulative performances over the last five months for houses and apartments of -1.7% and -5.4%, respectively.