The number of first time buyers in the market fell again last year, according to the latest Irish Residential Market report from estate agents Sherry FitzGerald.
The report found that first time buyers bought just 17 per of the properties traded throughout 2014, down from 20 per cent a year earlier and 29 per cent in 2012.
This decline means investors, at 16 per cent, almost matched the number of first time buyers buying property after a second successive year in which their activity in the market grew by three per cent.
Indeed, investors also played a major role on the selling side too with 32 per cent of vendors throughout the year found to be selling investment properties with executor sales making up a further 13 per cent of the market.
Sherry FitzGerald predicted a “more challenging year” in 2015, citing the intervention of the Central Bank as a factor. They admitted, however, that it would be “difficult to factor in what impact it will have on demand in 2015.”
They noted that demand is “recovering gradually” but added that supply remains “significantly constrained.”
The report also found that residential property prices in Ireland grew by 16.3 per cent last year.
The final quarter of last year saw prices grow by just 2 per cent nationally and 1.2 per cent in Dublin, however, as the “exceptional price inflation” from the first half of the year in the capital slowed considerably.
Growth for the year in Dublin was 18 per cent, helped by an increase of 12.6 per cent in the first half of 2014. Outside the capital, there was growth of 13.9 per cent with Cork (17.9 per cent), Galway (14.5 per cent) and Limerick (11.8 per cent) all performing strongly.
Sherry FitzGerald also said they expected final transaction figures for the year to be up around 10,000 on the previous year and 4,000 in the capital.
The strongest uplift in activity was in Limerick (57 per cent), Westmeath (52 per cent), Mayo (51 per cent) and Sligo (49 per cent), while the Roscommon and Leitrim (both -6 per cent) markets both contracted, albeit moderately.