In ten years the cost of buying a home in Ireland has gone from being among the cheapest to the most expensive in Europe.

An international survey of house prices carried out by the German Dresdner Kleinwort Benson Group indicates that house prices in Ireland are among the highest in Europe.

Figures from the report show Ireland to be the second most expensive place in the European Union after the Netherlands.

Irish prices have soared to such an extent that only the Netherlands with a ratio of 19.1 times disposable income has more expensive homes in Europe.

The study examines how prices have changed across Europe over the last decade. 

In 1989, a typical urban home in Britain cost 18.6 times the average disposable income. At the same time in Ireland, urban homes were costing 11.3 times the average disposable income. Ten years ago, Irish homes were among the cheapest in Europe. Now, house prices in Britain have fallen to 12.7 times disposable income while in Ireland prices have shot up to 18.2 times average income. 

The average disposable income in Ireland is about £11,500. According to government estimates last year, the average price of a house in Dublin had doubled over a period of four years to £133,000. These figures are at odds to those found in the survey by the Dresdner Kleinwort Benson Group due to different ways of calculating average house prices between countries. While the survey may not be precisely scientific, it does provide an indication of where Ireland stands when compared with our European neighbours.   

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 8 June 1999. The reporter is Richard Curran.