90% rise in house prices
House prices in the 26 Counties rose by 90.9% over the past four years according to new figures produced by the Irish Permanent bank and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
Prices in Cork rose by 85.6% over the same period. In Dublin house prices have nearly doubled since 1996. The 17.5% rise in 1999 was down on the 30% increases registered in 1998 but is still racing ahead of wage increases.
The average price paid for a house in December 1999 was £97,975. These prices are outside the reach of thousands of Irish families. Many of these families are now on local authority housing waiting lists and in too many cases are paying exhorbitant rents to landlords.
52,000 new homes are expected to be built in the 26 Counties this year. How many of them will be affordable for young first time buyers? The ESRI figures show that there is an urgent need for more central government action to curve the speculation and profiteering driving up house prices.