Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.
-Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Earlier this week, I picked up on the Irish Construction Federation’s latest plea to the powers that be for a national property price register. I was simultaneously delighted and bored, genuinely delighted to know that this cause is still considered newsworthy but on the other hand, terribly bored to hear this plea repeated.
The likely impetus for this latest outcry? Well, it most probably had something to do with another round of daft.ie or myhome.ie reports. Most property professionals (particularly members of the Construction Federation, auctioneers, buyers’ brokers, mortgage lenders etc) strive to remind clients at this time that such reports are not reflective of our current market realities. They are based on strategic asking prices (both sales and lettings) by sellers and/or their agents, not actually achieved sale or letting values. They give absolutely no indication of the intrinsic value of a property of class of properties, and this is where the challenge lies for property buyers. The findings to be deduced from these seller-sponsored websites are flawed on so many levels that they prompt press releases from all interested professionals, shouting to government for some form of a national property price register. For example, through our research for buyers, we have found up to three individual listings for many of the same residential properties on these websites, generally through different agents and or private sellers. This entirely distorts the findings in terms of general volume of available properties, volume by location, demand assumptions and critically, achievable prices. They also fail to take into account the huge proportion of off-market property available in Ireland at any time i.e. property that is not offered for sale on the open market for a variety of reasons.
This may explain why investors did not flood the market directly upon hearing that rents were up in January (2010, compared with the same month in 2009)! It may also explain that why buyers are increasingly confused as to why all accessible research and data directly conflicts with what they are experiencing “on the ground”.
In our experience sourcing properties for buyers across Ireland, prior to and throughout the recession, reliance upon blind statistics can be detrimental to eager but relatively inexperienced buyers. Unfortunately a large proportion of the economic forecasts that we (collectively!) have been devouring for the past two to three years are all form and no substance, so buyers, absolutely read every report but do so with an open and questioning mind. A reported increase in asking prices in West Dublin should not influence any offer you make on a property in North Dublin, Kildare or Kerry but equally, it should not influence your offer in West Dublin!