Brexit is continuing to cause uncertainty at the upper ends of the property market here.
That’s according to agent REA, which says the market has segmented into two groups – those who need to buy and those who are able to choose when they can move.
“The first set of buyers are purchasing properties under €350,000, but the latter are either cautious about values and interest rates post-Brexit and are adopting a wait-and-see approach, or cannot secure mortgage approval,” said REA spokesperson Barry McDonald.
According to REA’s Average House Price Index for the first three months of the year, average house prices nationally fell 0.16% during the quarter, from €236,287 during the last three months of the year to €235,898.
But looking at the past 12 months overall, prices across the country rose by 2.9%.
That’s significantly less than the 4.6% recorded in the year to the end of December.
According to the index, which is based on a the actual sale price of three-bed semi-detached houses, prices in Dublin city have decreased by an average of €7,500 in the first three months of the year.
The agent says mortgage finance rules are the principal cause of the 1.7% drop, which brings the cost of an average home in the capital to €437,500.
The decrease cancels out the €7,000 average increase in value accumulated by three-bed semis in Dublin last year.
“Time taken to reach sale agreed in Dublin is now eight weeks – double that of a year ago – and reflects the difficulties that people are experiencing in obtaining a mortgage,” said Mr McDonald.
“We are seeing an appreciable drop in people attaining mortgage approval – particularly for properties above €350,000 – which is creating a ceiling that is stifling the market.”
Prices remained broadly unchanged in the main cities outside of the capital, while in some of the commuter counties, including Wicklow and Louth, prices fell over the last three months, the index shows.