A few miles away, in the suburb of Rathfarnham, the rise in Dublin house prices in the past few months is even more visible. At Stocking Wood, a development of new houses off the M50 motorway, prices have risen from 429,000 euros in March to 489,000 euros for the latest phase to come to the market.
If any country should have a nose for an incipient house price bubble, it is Ireland. Between 2008 and 2010, it experienced one of the world's most spectacular property price crashes. From the peak in 2007 to the trough in 2011/12, house values collapsed by 60 to 65 percent.
The turnround is eye-catching. According to the Central Statistics Office, residential house prices in Dublin rose 22 percent in the year to May. The last time Irish house prices were rising so fast was between 2002 and 2005, the years immediately before the crash. This is sparking talks of a new price bubble – mostly, so far, around the dinner table.
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Still, says Mark Fitzgerald, chief executive of Sherry Fitzgerald, an estate agents: "Even if prices are up 20 percent they are still 40 to 50 percent below where they were." As the economist Dan O'Brien observed in a newspaper column recently, the price crash has been so traumatizing that "we have gone from being blasé about the risks of property price increases in the pre-2007 period to being paranoid about them now."
Ireland's property bubble in the 2000s was caused by a mix of speculative building, cheap development and mortgage finance, competitive lending by banks, and perverse incentives to keep the property market buoyant because tax revenues depended on it. None of these factors is present today. The latest round of property price inflation is being driven, experts say, by the legacy that the unwinding of the bubble has bequeathed.
The most obvious toxic legacy is a shortage of supply. Hubert Fitzpatrick, director of housing at the Construction Industry Federation, says only about 1,800 new residential units will be brought to the market in Dublin this year, compared with "sustainable demand" for 8,000.
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