Insight of the COVID pandemic hitting global markets. The sharp effect on the Irish economy and society were evident in the housing industry, where the number of transactions sharply decreased, even though the house prices across the country remained relatively unchanged.
In the most recent GeoView Residential Buildings Report, it shows that in the last 12 months, a total number of 35,542 properties were sold and property transactions took place. This shows nearly a 22% decrease in the number compared to the number of transactions in 2019, the year before the shutdown. This trend was reflected in nearly every county, with Dublin having the largest number of decreases at nearly 4000. Within the number of transactions that were made in the past year, only 20% of the properties were newly built properties, which is slightly above the amount in the previous year. This reflects the trend seen across the country of current homeowners reluctant to keep their properties on the market as the pandemic hit due to the uncertainty of housing prices and whether the properties would be able to sell. Therefore, a larger number of newly built housing were in the market compared to houses with pre-existing owners. As for the residential property prices, there was little change to overall pricing between before the pandemic hit the market, and during the quarantine.
Considering the number of houses that were unable to sell, there is still a steady and stable amount of construction activity happening within the state. Reports show that there are currently around 17,000 buildings under construction in Ireland, which is nearly an 11.6% increase compared to 12 months ago. Of these buildings under construction, nearly 3000 of them are in Dublin, which is to no one’s surprise. However, this figure is in fact lower in comparison to 2019 levels.
While there has been a slowing supply of houses to be put on the market within quarantine, there has still been a steady demand of buyers within the housing market, which has led to prices remaining relatively unchanged. And despite these temporary restriction construction activity in 2020, there was still a high level of residential buildings and business buildings being built throughout the year. There is still much uncertainty in how the housing market will react to lifting restrictions as the quarantine comes to an end, but buyers and sellers alike are recommended to keep a close eye on the number of houses on the market and the selling price. Will the lifting of restrictions cause a surge in either demand or supply in the market? Or will the gradual lifting of restrictions cause little change?
Lucas Zhang was a Finance major at Ohio State University. He writes about finance, mortgages, and technology for Irish Mortgage Brokers.