Survey predicts house prices will fall by 20 per cent over the next four years.

A new survey from The Economist magazine predicts that house prices in Ireland will fall by 20 per cent over the next four years. A report in the magazine says that in many countries, the stock market bubble has been replaced by a property price bubble that is about to burst. The findings of the report are based on data gathered from estate agents, lending institutions and government agencies.

One recent home buyer, Lochlann O'Connor, does not believe that the property bubble is about to burst.

I can't see the house prices going down by the twenty per cent that The Economist are saying.

The survey carried out by The Economist examined cities worldwide finds that house prices in Ireland are seriously overpriced as they are in the United States, the UK and Spain.

Margaret Doyle of The Economist says that Ireland is one of the countries most vulnerable to a reversal in the trend of rising prices. The magazine is advising potential buyers to wait until prices fall and in the meantime, they should rent.

House prices have tripled in money terms since 1995, in less than ten years.

Aidan O'Hogan from Hamilton Osborne King says that the advice given by The Economist is a high risk strategy. He acknowledges that house prices will moderate somewhat but is not alarmed.

A twenty per cent drop would only put us back at the levels of last year which it's thought would not cost any great dismay for homeowners.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 29 May 2003. The reporter is Eileen Whelan.