Tuesday, April 2, 2013

2/4/2013: Confused or spun? Property prices in Ireland

So foreign investors are allegedly flocking in thousands to Irish commercial real estate markets, snapping anything they can get their hands on... right

Meanwhile, of course, residential property is on a 'recovery path' (aka flat-line dead) per latest CSO figures for the Residential Property Price Index.

In February 2013, RPPI for all properties fell from 65.4 in January to 64.4 (a decline of 1.53% - the steepest rate of m/m drop since February 2012 and worse than the year-to-date average m/m decline of 1.07%). The index is now down 2.57% y/y.

Looking at slightly smoother 3mo figures: 3mo cumulative change on previous 3 months was -2.57% which signals acceleration in decline compared to 6mo change on previous 6 mo at -1.23%. Thus, relative to peak, RPPI hit absolute bottom at -50.65% with previous record drop of -50.34% recorded in June 2012.

The Government needs some serious spin to paint house prices dynamics in anything but bleak terms. Per RPPI, House prices are deteriorating, slipping to 67 in February 2013 from 68.1 in January 2013 and setting an all-time record low. House prices are down 1.62% m/m and 2.90% y/y. 3mo cumulated change is -3.04% and 6mo cumulated change is -1.47% so things are getting worse, not better, over time once again.

RPPI overall, however, was supported to the upside by the price changes in sub-index covering Apartments. Apartments prices sub-index rose to 51.5 in February from 48.1 in January (+7.07% m/m) which suggests that a single outlier transaction might have distorted the cumulative figures. Nonetheless, in terms of 3mo MA this only brings sub-index to the levels of May-June 2012.

Lastly, Dublin sub-index showed once again that flat-line can actually be associated with both down and up volatility. In February 2013 Dublin sub-index slipped to 59.3 from 59.5 in January, which means that the index is now up 2.95% y/y. Happy times? Somewhat. But note that 6mo cumulated change through February 2013 was at +3.49% while 3mo cumulated change through February is -1.17%, so dynamically things are worrisome, rather than encouraging.

Funny thing this recovery, folks... Government & Green Jerseys say one thing, their own data says another... confused.com? or maybe spin.ie?
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