Readers may recall that back in September 2009 I blogged about Finance Minister calling a floor in the property market, and how unlikely that situation was. Mr Lenihan was appearing before the Finance committee in relation to NAMA. Here is the video:
I also drew (very poorly) some graphs, arguing that the only way property prices were going was down. By a significant amount. Some of the lads over in politics.ie sniped that my poorly drawn graphs were laughable (they sort of were), but the logic behind them was, I believe, sound. Some disagreed.
So let us return to those graphs from 10 months ago. Here is the graph I drew in September, based on CSO data for second hand home prices:
You can see that as of Q1 2009, average national house prices for second hand homes were around €290,000. Next up, my graph (which included more recent ESRI prices from July 2009 at €240,000).
My argument was that prices would continue to fall, more or less symmetrically with how they would have risen. In other words the second property bubble was from 2002 to late 2006, about a four year period. In 2002 average prices were about €200,000. My graph indicates that prices would return to €200,000 by mid 2010, about a four year period. Well I would argue that they now have done so.
Here is the latest date from the CSO. Prices continued to fall, passing well below €250,000 in Q4 2009 (€40,000 below the floor Lenihan called).
But we don’t have Q2 or Q3 2010 figures from the CSO yet obviously, so let’s have a look at the ESRI figures.
According to the ESRI for Q1 2010, average national house prices are now €204,830, and we can easily imagine that since March, prices have continued to fall. Which means house prices are now back to 2002 levels, where our second property boom started.
The question now is, will we start now unwinding the first property bubble, 1997 to 2002? I believe we will. I would see prices returning to 1998 levels, factoring in inflation, which would lead to a national average house price of about €130,000 – €140,000 by late 2011, or early 2012. It could even be lower than this, as it tends to overshoot on the downside. I see no factor that would keep prices where they are now. Government policy and/or NAMA are the only variants that did not exist before – but I still do not see them being able to counteract the other major factors: rising unemployment, lower credit, a shrinking economy, bankrupt banks and oversupply of houses, among others.
Unfortunately for us NAMA officially called the bottom of the property market in November 2009. Since then its own assets have significantly decreased in value.
Of course if anyone disagrees with my analysis, have at it in the comments.