IRISH RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY prices rose by almost 11% in the year to the end of February, new figures have shown.
According to the CSO Residential Property Price Index, residential property prices increased by 10.7% across the country in the 12 months to February.
This compares with an increase of 8.1% in the year to January and an increase of 5.4% in the 12 months to February 2016.
In Dublin, residential property prices increased by 8.3% in the year to February. Dublin house prices increased by 8.1%, whereas apartments increased by 9.1% in the same period.
Residential property prices in the rest of Ireland, excluding the capital, were 13.2% higher in the year to February. House prices in the rest of the country increased by 13.1% over the period.
The western region showed the greatest price growth, with house prices up by almost a fifth. In contrast, the mid-east region showed the least price growth, with house prices increasing by just under 10%.
Overall, the national index is about a third lower than the peak it hit during the height of the property bubble in 2007.
Analysts at brokerage firm Davy said that the increase represented a “sharp acceleration” in property price inflation.
At the start of the year, the firm predicted that house prices could rise by more 10% throughout 2017. Now, it said that growth could be even stronger than that.
“House price inflation accelerated in Dublin and in the rest of Ireland,” it said.
“In this context, our forecast for 10% house price inflation through 2017 is well on track with an even stronger gain possible.
The firm said that there is now “little doubt” that the loosening of the Central Bank mortgage lending rules and the introduction of the Help-to-Buy scheme have added to Irish house price inflation.
Davy analyst Conall Mac Coille said that the firm had always expected residential prices to rise by 10% nationally through 2017.
“Ireland’s robust economic recovery was always likely to lead to significant house price rises,” he said.
However, he added: “The key uncertainty is how much extra momentum to Irish house price inflation has been added by the Help-to-Buy scheme and the loosening of the Central Bank mortgage lending rules.
“The sharp gains in the early part of 2017, when price rises are normally muted, indicate that our forecast for 10% house price inflation might even be too pessimistic.”