Unlike the UK and Northern Ireland, there is no price transparency when selling or buying houses in Ireland. Asking prices bear no relation to actual selling prices which are anecdotally 40% and more down on the peak of 2006. Ghost estates ( http://ghostestates.com/main.php?g2_view=map.ShowMap ) i.e. developments with little to no occupation, dot the countryside, particularly in areas where tax breaks were given (section 23), those houses cannot be sold as there is zero employment growth in those areas and net outflow emigration to urban areas and abroad in search of jobs, there is zero demand. Though there are ghost apartments in Dublin City and outskirts itself (examples: Booterstown wood, the Grange, Northern Cross and many others). Most of theses developments have been taken over by the banks at this stage or the developers are allowed to roll over the interest and payments, while they wait for NAMA (more anon) to come on stream.
The excellent Trees Don't Grow To The Sky ( http://www.treesdontgrowtothesky.com/ ) gives an indication for asking price trends and Irish Property Watch ( http://www.irishpropertywatch.com/ ) if you want to look up the history of asking price drops or rises on a particular property. Ireland does not have a postcode system in place yet.
Daftwatch ( http://daftwatch.thepropertypin.com/ ) will give you an idea of the inventory trend in properties for sale and rent.
The cash buyer has even been rumoured to be making an appearance....
Number of Lenders
Mortgage credit is only given to those with "secure" jobs in the public sector and some professions, any workers involved in construction related activity will not get credit.
Private sector borrowers are only considered if they have a minimum 20% deposit and/or other securities.
The sub-prime sector has collapsed, subprime only started to get going in 2006/2007 when the market collapsed, so it only affects at most 12,000 mortgage borrowers and a lot of these borrowers had the good sense to move their mortage to a main-stream lender once their credit rating was established.
Subprime lender Start mortgages is still hanging in there and feature regularly in the repossessions.
The foreign lenders ACC (Rabobank), KBC (formerly IIB, part of Belgian KBC group), National Irish (Danske bank), Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Ulster bank (RBOS) are all licking their wounds and preparing to exit the Irish market. ACC is not rolling up interest payments like the others and going after the scalps of the developers (proper order too) with a number of significant developers Liam Carroll (â‚¬2.8 billion owed to the various banks) and John Kelly being hauled before the courts. Ulster bank are ring fencing ROI mortgages, not sure how they've dealt with developer Sean Dunne, they leant significant amounts ( e.g. â‚¬275 million for a 4.84 site - http://www.finance-magazine.com/display_ar...349π=233)
Ulster bank have also closed their First Active (former building society) branches.
I don't believe any of these lenders are doing any significant new mortgage business at this time.
Quarterly statistical data on mortgage lending is here - http://ibf.ie/Articles.asp?article_title=&...category_id=109
The native lenders are zombie banks (Allied Irish bank AIB, Bank of Ireland BOI, Permanent TSB, Irish Nationwide INBS, EBS) and are all carrying significant impairments with Irelands largest banks AIB and BOI availing of government handouts and ECB money to stay operational. Those with major exposure to developers are rolling over loans in the hope they can offload the losses to the taxpayer through NAMA.
Because they are depending on the government, they have not moved on delinquent mortgages, yet! so the number of impaired mortgages is growing as is the unemployment rate. They also have not laid off any significant number of staff, yet! The likelihood is that some of these lenders will be consolidated with other banks.
Anglo Irish bank (not to be confused with AIB) was effectively a property lending casino to the developers and has been taken over by the government, with most of the staff currently getting paid to play solitaire.
The taxpayer has already taken significant losses on this bank. There are several investigations ongoing into this bank, with criminal charges to follow when the scapegoats are found, doubtless an attempt at destroying the paper trail to the significant corrupt operators has already taken place.
International Securities Trading Corp (ISTC) which was a specialist lender setup by former Anglo Irish employees that went bust when the credit crunch first started, last I know its debt was trading on the market at 20c-30c in the â‚¬.
We do not know yet who the significant politicians are that have non-performing loans with the banks, this will come out in time. We do know that the planning system has been corrupted, as many local councillors have significant interests in property development and the number of auctioneers sitting on councils is surprisingly high. Most councils were dependent on property development for a significant portion of funding and are now facing bankruptcy unless the taxpayer ponies up the balance.
Taxation is likely to rise significantly in the coming years to try cover interest payments on the debts, and the payoff of the special interest groups such as public sector unions and banks. The reason the banks are being bailed out the politicians needs a mechanism to borrow money from the market (sorry ECB), without any money to give out, they loose their key tool of power.
There is an unwillingness in political circles to cut spending and the budget deficit is likely to be close to â‚¬20 billion this year alone, this cannot continue otherwise within 3 years the entire system will collapse.
NAMA ( http://www.thepropertypin.com/viewforum.php?f=50 )
NAMA is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) structure that will buy the development loans from banks (â‚¬90 billion) and be sold as bonds to the market or ECB, with losses underwritten by the Irish taxpayer for the next 30 years. The properties will be bought at a discount value that will be decided by hired consultants who make assumptions on the "long term value" of the development by putting their finger in the air and deciding which way the wind is blowing. The loans will not be marked to market as the losses to the Irish banks would mean the Irish taxpayer through the government guarantee would have to underwrite even more money to recapitalise the banks.
http://audioserver.todayfm.com/audio/breakfast/Gift_nama.mp3 [mp3 filw]
If you are buying a house in Ireland and are a cash buyer, you can probably find what you are looking for, even the German estate agents are starting to sniff around West Cork again for bargains.
It pays to do some research and falls of 60-80% under peak (2006) are likely in some areas of the country.
The outlook is not pretty with unemployment continuing to rise fast and emigration on the up again plus there are significant risks of catastrophic economic collapse, so you should consider the possibility of having to live off grid for a while. If you financially independent, have employment or are not dependant exclusively on the state for your income, then you will probably do well.