House prices in Galway have risen by almost five per cent in the first half of 2017 - the largest increase in the State for the year to date - and house prices also have shown a year on year increase of more than 13 per cent.
The figures come from two separate reports - one from estate agents Sherry FitzGerald, the other by property website Daft.ie According to Sherry FitzGerald, house prices increased by 4.9 per cent, since January, while prices in Limerick and Cork increased by 3.4 per cent and 3.1 per cent, respectively. The report also showed there was an overall increase of 4.4 per cent in property prices. Daft.ie's report shows the average house price in Galway city is now more than €268,000, the highest in Connacht, representing a 13.4 per cent increase since June 2016. Prices are now 67.2 per cent higher in Galway than their lowest point - the largest increase in the State outside of Dublin city centre.
Reacting to the figures, Sinn Féin Galway City East councillor Mairéad Farrell said while the rise in prices was "not particularly surprising", they indicate a “very concerning trend”, and she has now called for the “ill-conceived Help-to-Buy scheme” to be scrapped.
“Outside Dublin, Galway has continually proven to be one of the blackspots of the housing crisis in this State," she said. "Private rental costs are spiralling, the social housing waiting list is increasing and house prices are increasing at a stark rate. The net result of this concerning trend is that first-time buyers in Galway are being priced out of the housing market."
She said the Help-to-Buy scheme, coupled with new Central Bank Mortgage rules, was"fuelling these increases". Cllr Farrell noted that, earlier this year, the Governor of the Central Bank, Philip Lane, was of the view that the scheme was adding to house price inflation. Davy stockbrokers also said that the Help-to-Buy scheme would add to momentum in house prices in 2017.
"This, coupled with the new research from Daft.ie and Sherry FitzGerald, should confirm to the newly-appointed Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy what Sinn Féin has being saying from the start," said Cllr Farrell. "How much more evidence does the minister need to tell him that this scheme is not fit for purpose?"
There was further evidence of the level of house price increases in the MyHome.ie Q2 Property Report, carried out in association with Davy. The repost said the mix-adjusted price on newly listed properties across the State rose by five per cent in the second quarter of 2017 - up 8.9 per cent on the year.
The report noted: "Prices in Galway are also continuing to move upwahrds. The median asking price was €205,000 in Q2, up 11 per cent on the year and the highest price for the county as a whole in five years. In Galway city the median price was €243,000, up 7.8 per cent in Q2 and nine per cent on the year. This is the highest price for the city in since Q1 2011."
It also noted how the price for four bed semi-detached homes in Galway are up 27.5 per cent year on year. The report's author, Conall MacCoille, chief economist at Davy, said the Help-to-Buy scheme "had a significant impact on the housing market", and that "what evidence there is suggests" it contributed to house price inflation.