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Number of properties for sale takes nosedive

The availability of property for sale on the market has taken a nosedive as a result of the Covid-19 emergency, with the number of houses for sale dropping significantly.

Between 15 and 28 March there were just 1,300 properties posted for sale across the country, according to property website daft.ie.

That represents half the total of the same period one year ago.

“This is likely to continue as long as everyday life is suspended in Ireland, with consequences for the number of transactions that will take place in the second half of the year,” said Ronan Lyons, economist at Trinity College Dublin.

“The last few weeks have changed the prospects for the Irish housing market entirely, with the Covid-19 pandemic reaching Ireland and completely disrupting everyday life for weeks and possibly months to come.”

The stock of available properties to buy had already been falling prior to the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic here. 

At the start of March there were 19,900 properties for sale on the Daft platform.

This represents a 12% reduction compared to the same point a year ago, and the seventh consecutive month where stock on the market had dropped.

It is also the first time since late 2006 that there were less than 20,000 homes available to buy.

The supply situation was worst in the capital where the “for sale” stock has fallen by a fifth in the last 12 months. 

Publishing its House Price Report for the first quarter, the website said the pandemic had reached Ireland too late in the three month period to have a meaningful impact on asking prices.

They rose 2.2% between January and March, although they still ended the first quarter 1.7% lower than a year ago following two consecutive quarterly falls at the end of last year.

Exactly what impact the Covid-19 restrictions will have on prices during the current quarter is as yet uncertain.

“The scale of the fall in prices is still unclear at this point,” said Mr Lyons.

“In such uncertain times, the first reaction will be through quantities, not prices, with both buyers and sellers holding off until the future becomes a little clearer.”

Daft.ie said average list prices in Dublin city fell 2.6% to €372,579, with prices in Galway falling by a similar amount.

Prices did rise slightly in Limerick and Waterford cities.

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