HomeBond registrations in Waterford during 2007 fell by over 25 per cent on the previous year’s tally. A total of 751 registrations were issued last year, a stark drop from the 2006 figure of 1015.
This represented the fourth consecutive year that registrations fell, but the 2007 figure represented the single largest drop recorded during the 2004-2007 period.
Going back to 2003, registrations in Waterford stood at 1414, which indicates the extent of the drop-off in the property sector, not that this is exclusively a Waterford issue.
It’s worth noting that the decline in Waterford is significantly less than the national tail-off in registrations in 2007, which were 47 per cent down on the previous year’s tally.
That planning permission for a further 409 homes in Carrrickpherish has been lodged with Waterford City Council by developers Joe McNamara and Paul O’Brien indicates confidence in the local market.
Across the border in Wexford, the drop in registrations was altogether more significant in 2007, almost 60 per cent down on the 2006 figures.
Kilkenny experienced a similar drop (2007: 453; 2006: 1266) while Tipperary’s registration decline was not quite as dramatic; though slightly higher than the Waterford dip (2007: 1362; 2006: 1862).
Writing in the latest issue of ‘Housing Times’, AIB Senior Economist Doctor Jenny Pollock notes “that the key to restoring confidence in the Irish housing market is improving affordability, to bring it back to more manageable levels.”
Dr Pollock predicts that by the end of this year, “house prices could well have fallen by 15 per cent from their peak (which was seen at the beginning of 2007)” which would bring prices back to their autumn 2005 levels.
“Even if affordability conditions are beginning to improve, before activity levels begin to recover, developers will need to be convinced firstly that improved confidence is boosting demand in a sustainable fashion and secondly that the supply overhang in the market has been cleared…
“Overall, then, the jury is out as to whether we are seeing the tentative signs that the Irish housing market is stabilising and that the period of correction is nearing an end. Affordability, though, will be the key to a sustainable market recovery.”