Irish Home Prices Rise for First Time In Almost Five Years

Irish home prices rose for the first time in almost five years in May, suggesting that the worst of the slump in the nation’s real estate market may be at an end.

Residential property prices nationally increased an average 0.2 percent in May from the previous month, the first increase since September 2007, the Central Statistics Office in Cork said on its website today. Dublin prices rose 0.2 percent, the third consecutive monthly increase.

“We don’t see a major improvement in the housing market until there is clear evidence that the jobless rate has peaked and is on a downward trend,” said Alan McQuaid, an economist at Merrion Capital in Dublin. “That said, the May house price data are a step in the right direction and suggest the worst may be over.”

Ireland’s decade-long real-estate bubble burst in 2008, leading to a 67.5 billion-euro ($84.2 billion) international rescue and the nationalization of five of the country’s biggest lenders. Residential property prices are down 15.3 percent from a year earlier, while Dublin prices have dropped 17.5 percent in the same period.

“We’re unlikely to see any significant increase in house prices in the coming months,” said Ronan Lyons, an economist at Daft.ie, the country’s largest online residential property site. “The Dublin market may continue to bounce along the bottom, but I’d expect further declines for the rest of the country.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Finbarr Flynn in Dublin at fflynn3@bloomberg.net; Joe Brennan in Dublin at jbrennan29@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Lytle at dlytle@bloomberg.net

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