House prices are now rising at a rate four times higher than a year ago, according to official figures.
The national average price has reached €333,300 – up €31,000 from 2021 – and prices are now almost at Celtic Tiger levels.
Homes in the country’s wealthiest district, Dublin 4, have averaged almost a million euros each, according to the latest figures from the CSO. They have increased by almost a third compared to nearly €760,000 12 months ago.
Prices rose 15.2% in the year to March, four times the 3.7% annual increase recorded in the previous 12-month period.
The increase is the biggest in seven years, when the Central Bank was pressured to introduce tough mortgage rules to cool the market and prevent a debt-fueled housing bubble.
Housing campaigner David Hall, from the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation, said: ‘The rise is frightening and there are no signs of it slowing down either. There is no good news in this.
“It’s very concerning. It’s back to supply and demand. We’re going to need the delivery of thousands of homes for people to get on the property ladder.
But KBC Bank’s chief economist, Austin Hughes, believes strong price rises will continue through the summer before running out of steam. “As the stock of pandemic-related deposit savings is depleted, the ability to stimulate real estate-focused savings will be constrained by cost of living pressures.
“Furthermore, affordability and buyer sentiment are both likely to be affected by impending ECB rate hikes and heightened economic uncertainty,” he said.
Meanwhile, the pandemic halt in new home construction has pushed up the price of second-hand properties by almost 18%. Mr Hughes said: “In the first three months of this year, the increase in house price inflation roughly doubled from the previous year to 6.2 per cent, but inflation for existing properties was almost six times higher at 17.8%.
The number of sales in March at 3,918 was down slightly from 3,951 sales a year earlier as pent-up demand during the lockdown caused sales to surge.