Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

12.21 5 Jul 2021


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The next housing crash will be much worse than the last because Ireland is stuck in "a boom-bust cycle", according to an expert.

Dr Rory Hearne, Assistant Professor in Social Policy at NUI Maynooth, believes that the bulk buying of houses by investment funds is creating a property bubble, with prices continually climbing.

It comes as a new survey shows that house values have soared over the past 12 months.

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The study from property agents DNG found that the estimated value of a home is up 11% year on year.

This is the highest level of inflation the company has measured since 2017.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Dr Hearne said the current prices for homes in Ireland are not sustainable for people.

"If we look at where we are at the moment, house prices have increased dramatically in the last six months and we're looking towards, in the next year or two, Celtic Tiger levels," he explained.

House prices could reach Celtic Tiger levels within a year, says expert

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

"Rents are already a third higher than the Celtic Tiger levels, and wages have not increased anything like the scale of the house prices over the last eight years.

"Why I make the point that the crash is going to be even worse, and it is inevitable we're going to have a crash again because we're stuck in this boom-bust cycle, is that the role of investor funds add a significant pressure onto house prices.

"It means that we will continue to see, even when people who are trying to buy a home to live in a home as opposed to buying it as an investment, even when they are priced out of the market, prices will continue to be inflated because we have this flow of global money coming in here through investment funds."

The issue of credit is an important aspect of the surging prices, and the "limitless supply of capital" from funds hoping to invest in property flowing into Ireland is also creating a bubble, Dr Hearne stated.

File photo of apartments for sale signs in Co Kildare. Photo: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

"It's pushing up prices unsustainably and so house prices reach a point where people can't afford them," he said.

"I think there's very clearly a housing bubble because the prices are unsustainable, they have gone out of whack again between what people can afford and the prices being asked.

"As long as it is profitable and affordable [for investment funds] they will continue to flow in and continue to buy up.

Dr Hearne added: "Are we going to allow that to continue? That's why I'm being provocative in a sense saying there's going to be a housing crash but the point is we can still avoid that if we cool it down and we say homes should be available for people who are looking to buy a home, not as an investment.

"We need immediate emergency measures and I've gone to a point where I would say we should look at house prices being controlled just as rents are being controlled."

He said that the government "still lacks a sense of emergency" when it comes to housing.

Main image: Members of the public passing a Sherry FitzGerald estate agents in Dublin. Photo: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

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