The rate of house price inflation appears to be slowing - that is the view of the Central Statistics Office and this morning a report from the property website, MyHome.ie, adds further weight to that view. 

Conall Mac Coille, chief economist at Davy - who authored a report accompanying the MyHome.ie index - explained that the CSO index is a three month average based on completed transactions. "It lags in that it is based on what was agreed three months ago. The MyHome data is based on asking prices which fell in the fourth quarter and were up in the first three months of this year. It suggests there was a small pullback at the end of the last year, but there are signs of stability," he said. "Clearly the 20% growth rates in Dublin house prices couldn't be sustained and we're seeing that slow, which is good news," he added.

Conall Mac Coille said it was hard to tell if the new Central Bank regulations on mortgage lending were having an impact on prices yet. "The announcement of the regulations led to a loss of the fear factor in the housing market. Those expectations of runaway property price growth are gone away and that's led a small slowdown in prices," he explained.

James Nugent, Managing Director at Lisney in Ireland, said he believed the Central Bank regulations will have the desired effect, but it will take time to see that filter through the market.  "A lot of buyers in the market now are working on mortgage approvals under the old regime and are not fully affected by it yet. We will probably see it filter down throughout the course of the year."

Mr Nugent said he did not subscribe to the view of the ESRI that the regulations were introduced at the wrong time. "When you're introducing new rules, there's never an appropriate time. Price growth of 20% was not sustainable. The property market was running away with itself and the Central Bank was prudent in bringing in the measures," he said.

Conall Mac Coille said the lack of housing development was a cause for concern. "Surveys of the construction industry suggest house building slowed very sharply in the early part of the year. The new building regulations could be an issue and could cause problems down the line. If you're the CEO of a large multinational looking at Dublin, will you be able to find appropriate office space and what kind of residential space is available for your staff? It might not hurt growth this year or next year but it is a bottleneck emerging that might hurt our prospects into the future," he stated.

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MORNING BRIEFS - The Irish Dairy Board has been rebranded and from today it will be known as Ornua. The new corporate identity coincides with the removal of milk quotas, an era for which the dairy industry has been preparing for several years now. Perhaps Ornua's best known brand is Kerrygold butter of which it sells hundreds of millions of packs around the world every year. This is the second time the organisation has changed its name in its 54 year history - it was originally known as Bord Bainne and changes its name to the Irish Dairy Board in 1994.

*** Aryzta has announced that it is in negotiations to secure a 49% shareholding in speciality premium French food business, Picard. It will pay €446.6m which will be largely funded from the proceeds of its share placement in Origin. Last week, Aryzta sold down a large portion of its shareholding in Origin, netting it over €400m.

*** PwC have been testing the pulses of the nation's CFOs or chief financial officers. Nine out of ten are confident about the economy's prospects for the next year. Half of them say they will grow their workforce and 76% say they plan to award a pay rise in the year ahead. However many say competitiveness needs to be kept under review and that regulation is becoming an increasingly onerous task.