A survey carried out for the Irish Independent by the Real Estate Alliance Group has found that agents in Dublin expect prices to rise by just 0.3% on average in 2016.
However, some agents in South County Dublin are predicting that prices will fall a further -3.5% next year, after a 12 month period which saw -9.3% wiped off the value of the average house in the area.
In the Dublin city area, some agents remain just as sceptical of the coming year as they feel that without Government intervention rising rents, a lack of suitable supply and the punitive mortgage deposit rules for second time buyers will combine to see prices drop by -5% in areas such as Tallaght and Rathfarnham.
Overall, agents in the Dublin city area are predicting rises of just 1.5% over the next 12 months.
This is in comparison to the nationwide average expectation of a 5.6 per cent rise in property prices next year.
While many Dublin agents reported zero growth in the fourth quarter of 2015, Rathcoole (-3.33%), Lucan (-1.82%) and Tallaght (-2.5%) suffered drops.
The Central Bank rules remain the key driver for growth or stagnation, especially in the Dublin area, with one agent predicting a rise of 3% if the rules are amended and a challenging market if they are not.
And as investors continue to exit the rental market, agents have predicted that rents will rise by 7-10% in 2016, further excluding people from saving deposits to get on the housing ladder.
Agents in the three main cities outside Dublin are more optimistic, with rises of 10% predicted in Limerick, 7% in Cork city and 3% in Galway.
The outlook for the commuter belt is ruled completely by the anticipation of new housing coming on stream in 2016.
Where this is the case, agents are optimistic. Where there is nothing in the pipeline, many feel that growth will be close to zero due to the lack of supply of suitable housing.
Agents in Meath have predicted just a 1.5% rise on average, after 3.72% average increases in 2015, with Navan and Ashbourne both expected to experience zero growth in the coming year.
“Our agents in Meath are predicting that unless there are government changes there will be no improvements next year,” said REA Chairman Michael O’Connor.
“They are seeing at first hand how difficult it is for developers to access finance and also build at a profit.
“If this is not addressed through a combination of measures, then we will see a situation where we will be left with little or no supply in crucial areas.”
Agents in Kildare endured price falls in Q4, mainly driven by supply issues, and after a year that finished flat on 2014, are predicting a maximum of 3.5% growth in 2016.
“We are seeing predicted stagnation in towns like Newbridge, which are still affordable commuter areas with average prices at €195,000, due to the fact that there are no new estates coming on stream,” said Michael O’Connor.
“Where there is any new building taking place, there are suitable properties to purchase or there is value for the first-time buyer, then agents’ expectations are higher.
“Around the country, we are seeing property markets in many areas making their first steps to recovery, albeit from a low base.
“And this recent growth is reflected in the confidence of their local agents with double digit rises predicted in Leitrim (11%), Monaghan (10%), Roscommon (10%) and Donegal (10%).”