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Irish Annual Home Prices Rise for First Time Since Crash Began

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July 23 (Bloomberg) -- Irish annual home prices rose in June for the first time in more than five years, signaling the worst may be over in the biggest real estate crash in Western Europe since the financial crisis began.

Home prices nationwide increased 1.2 percent in June from a year earlier, the first gain since January 2008, and climbed the same amount on a monthly basis, the Central Statistics Office said on its website today. Dublin residential prices rose 4.2 percent in the period from a year earlier, with apartment values in the Irish capital climbing 9.7 percent.

Irish home prices are still 50 percent lower than the peak of the nation’s property bubble in 2007. The real estate crash destroyed the nation’s financial system, with five of the six biggest banks taken over by the state. Some signs of life have emerged in the market in the past 18 months, with buyers including Blackstone Group LP acquiring real estate in Ireland.

“From a sentiment perspective, it’s a positive and it’ll probably encourage more activity,” said Juliet Tennent, an economist at Goodbody Stockbrokers in Dublin. “It is down basically to a lack of supply” in Dublin, she said.

On an annual basis, Dublin home prices have gained for six consecutive months, the CSO said. Property website Daft.ie said last month that residential property prices in South County Dublin rose 12 percent from the previous year in the second quarter, while prices overall in Dublin gained 5.3 percent during the period, the strongest growth since 2007.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Finbarr Flynn in Dublin at fflynn3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dara Doyle at ddoyle1@bloomberg.net