Rising prices mean fewer houses qualify for €220,000 threshold

Central Bank rules were aimed at helping first-time buyers get foot on property ladder

The number of properties being sold in Dublin under the Central Bank’s €220,000 threshold has fallen from two in five a year ago to just fewer than one in three properties.

Under the Central Bank rules introduced earlier this year, first-time buyers need just a 10 per cent deposit for all properties priced at €220,000 and below; however, the number of properties selling at this price has fallen.

In March, the first full month since the rules were introduced, just 35.1 per cent of transactions in the capital were at or below €220,000, according to figures from property website MyHome.ie.

That is a decline on the same month in 2014 when 47.3 per cent of sales fell into this category. The decline continued into April, with just 32.5 per cent of sales in the capital at or below the €220,000 mark.


Stock shortages for this category of housing are a key concern. Since January the number of properties for sale in Dublin has risen by 42 per cent to more than 5,300, but the number for sale under €220,000 has fallen from 22.4 per cent of available stock to just 20.2 per cent.

Keith Lowe of DNG says the Central Bank's €220,000 threshold has only served to increase prices at the lower end of the market.

“We had properties in Bray, for example, which were selling for between €160,000 and €170,000 but are now going for around €200,000 to €210,000.

“These new rules have set a new barrier and it is becoming a pinch point, a bit like the old stamp duty rules a few years ago.”

Lowe says banks are still making exceptions when it comes to the rules and that it is much too early to make predictions as to how the Central Bank’s intervention would affect the market.

“Some people above the €220,000 mark have given up on buying and have gone back to renting, which is also putting pressure on that market. A few others have had to change their desired location if they want to buy.

Lowe also says that where sales are going ahead at the lower end of the market, it is quite strong. Almost all apartment sales in Dublin this year have been by owner-occupiers whereas “last year first-time buyers simply couldn’t compete with the number of cash investors”.