Between January 1st and August 31st, there were 230 houses registered in Waterford city and county, less than half the total figure for 2007 and less than a quarter of the 2004 tally.

The statistics, published in the autumn edition of ‘Housing Times’, continue to demonstrate the extent of the property slowdown across the country.

The decline in the sector is, however, “relatively modest compared to the anecdotal evidence which points to much more substantial price cuts being made on many properties,” according to AIB Senior Economist Jenny Pollock.

Writing in ‘Housing Times’, Ms Pollock adds: “This may, to some extent, reflect reluctance by some buyers to drop their asking prices, waiting rather for an eventual pick-up in market sentiment.

“However, no doubt more significant is that asking prices are unlikely to reflect final selling prices which are in all probability lower.”

Comparing the latest registration figures to recent years demonstrates the extent of the property slowdown.

Some 1068 houses were registered in 2004, with 896, 758 and 558 registered in the three following years. The 2008 total to date represents approximately 21 per cent of the 2004 tally.

Stated Dr Pollock: “Against this background of a slowing economy, deteriorating economy, deteriorating labour market environment, falling net inward migration, the depressed housing market sentiment and tightening credit conditions, it is hardly surprising that developers continue to cut back the level of residential construction activity.

“However, at this stage we see no reason to further reduce our forecast for 2008 completions of 47,500…

“We will be looking closely at the autumn selling season to see whether there is any pick-up in market sentiment. However, given the deteriorating economic environment, it looks as if it will be some considerable time before there is any sustained pick-up in housing activity.”

Elsewhere in the south east, the year’s HomeBond registrations up to August 31st read: Kilkenny – 108, down 311 on ‘07, Wexford – 234, down 433 on ’07, Tipperary – 386, down 670 on ’07 and Carlow – 188, down 365 on ’07.