Landlord exodus yet to boost housing stock

It is early doors yet but there is not a lot of evidence that the much-discussed exodus of private landlords from the market is translating into an increase in the stock of homes available to first-time buyers.

A report from the Society of Chartered Accounts Ireland (SCSI) published on Friday indicated that there has only been a “modest” uptick in the number of general sales enquiries being made to estate agents across the country since the start of the year.

Certainly, there has been a notable jump in instructions from landlords selling investment properties, reaching a peak in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the report, in advance of the lifting of the eviction ban.

Sherry FitzGerald warned earlier this year that as many as 15,000 tenancies could be lost from the private rented sector this year if that trend continued. But estate agents polled by SCSI highlighted a drop-off in the number of landlords placing their properties on the market in the three months to the end of June.

Overall, compared with other, pre-Covid years, the professional body said the increase in new sale instructions to the market in general had not been “significant” in the first half of the year.

While data from does point to an improvement in the number of units available for sale – from 11,200 at the start of 2022 to 13,600 at the end of June – the figures are still well below pre-pandemic levels of about 20,000, SCSI said. In fact, some 71 per cent of surveyors polled by the professional body reported low stock levels, a slight improvement on last year but still an alarming piece of anecdotal detail.

On the other side of the transactional equation, rising interest rates, inflation and deteriorating credit conditions do not appear to be making much of a dent in demand.

Estate agents reported an increase in the number of property viewings in the second quarter, largely to do with an increase in housing completions, SCSI said. Interestingly, conveyancing delays and other factors have also led to a jump in the volume of sales that have fallen through, according to estate agents.

Price growth, however, does appear to be tapering off as new stock comes on stream. But while it is probably too early in the year to draw firm conclusions from the data, the market remains anything but functional.


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