Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is critical of those predicting a downturn in property prices.

Speaking at the Irish Marketing Institute (IMI) conference in County Wicklow, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said there were no problems with the level of borrowing by property buyers in Ireland.

He had harsh words for the experts who predicted a property crash that never materialised.

The Taoiseach said people who followed the advice of experts forecasting a downturn and delayed buying homes would have lost out.

They were entirely wrong.

The comments follow warnings from the Central Bank about the risk to the economy of continued big increases in property prices.

Robbie Kelleher, Chief Economist at Davy Stockbrokers, believes that there are no signs that the property market is going to "blow up" any time soon.

Finn Lyden, Managing Director at SIAC Construction, is concerned that people will use equity tied up in Irish property to invest in property in Eastern Europe. People usually do not speak the language, understand the ownership structures or landlord and tenant laws that exist in these countries.

Pat MacArdle, Chief Economist at Ulster Bank believes that Irish commentators on the property market have been balanced and any negativity has only come from foreign economic commentators.

One of the clear beneficiaries of the property boom is the exchequer. It is estimated that every time a house changes hands, €87,000 goes to the taxman.

While the Taoiseach may be optimistic about the property market, both the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator have voiced concerns over the level of borrowing.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 7 April 2006. The reporter is David Murphy.