In the twelve months to November 2020, there were a total of 35,542 residential property transactions across the State, a drop of 21.1% compared to the previous year. A decline in purchasing activity was recorded in every county, with Dublin experiencing the sharpest drop in absolute terms, down 3,981 transactions year-on-year.
This is according to the latest GeoView Residential Buildings Report published by GeoDirectory and EY-DKM today. Of the transactions, only 18.9% were classified as newly built dwellings. This figure is 0.2 percentage points (ppts) above the figure for the corresponding period to November 2019.
The average residential property price in Ireland in the twelve months to November 2020 was €294,184, representing a decline of 0.7% year-on-year. When Dublin is removed from the national average, the average residential property price was €231,549.
Unsurprisingly, the highest residential property prices were found in the Capital, with an average price of €442,711. This was an increase of 0.8% compared to the equivalent 2019 figure. Wicklow (€381,441) and Kildare (€318,744) were the only other counties in which the average property price exceeded the national average.
The lowest average property prices were located in rural areas, with Longford (€122,989), Leitrim (€126,316), and Roscommon (€128,920) recording the lowest prices.
The report suggests that despite significant disruption to the construction sector in 2020 due to Covid-19, there remains a healthy pipeline of construction activity. It is estimated that 16,735 residential buildings were under construction in Ireland in December 2020, representing a 11.6% increase on the same period in 2019. Of those buildings under construction, the highest number were found in Dublin (2,737). However, this figure for the capital is down 34.1% on December 2019 levels.
Furthermore, 58.7% of all residential buildings under construction were located in Leinster, 5.9 ppts lower than the same period in 2019. In contrast, increases in residential construction were recorded in Connacht (+2.3 ppts), Munster (+1.8 ppts) and Ulster (+1.8 ppts).
Commenting on the report, Director at EY-DKM Economic Advisory, Annette Hughes said, "The increase in the number of buildings under construction is very welcome in the current environment. The core challenge for the housing sector now is maintaining growth against the background of Covid-19. The risk is that prolonged lockdown restrictions, which commenced in January, will slow the construction sector further."
He added, "Meanwhile with the level of household deposits up by €13.5bn (+14.4%) since the start of the pandemic, the expectation is that this elevated level of savings will support the economic recovery and housing market transactions post Covid-19. Thus, it is imperative that the focus remains firmly on improving housing supply to avoid house price inflation."