There has been a significant shift in consumer sentiment regarding house prices in the last year, with nearly twice the number of people believing prices will fall over the next 12 months, according to a new property consumer sentiment survey.
The survey, from property website MyHome.ie, suggests an increasing number of people believe house prices have reached a tipping point, with 30% expecting prices will stay static, while 26% believe they will fall.
This is in stark contrast to last year's figures, which saw 20% of respondents believing prices would stall and 15% saying they predicted a fall in the year ahead.
The survey of 2,200 people also found that 30% believe prices will rise by up to 5%, while 13% believe they will rise by 5% or more.
Environmental considerations were also in evidence, as three-quarters of those surveyed said they would consider retro-fitting a property to increase its energy rating, while 92% said they believed the Building Energy Rating was an important consideration when buying a house.
Half of respondents are in favour of increasing building height regulations in cities, and, of these, 65% believe this height increase should apply only in selected locations.
Angela Keegan, Managing Director of MyHome.ie, said that environmental concerns were hugely significant, and showed that price was not the only factor among respondents when it came to housing.
"We have seen a significant change in opinion on house prices, but environmental concerns are also weighing heavily on people's minds, with 92% stressing the importance of BERs when buying a house and three-quarters saying they would consider retro-fitting a property to increase its energy rating.
"Concern over housing supply is still apparent, which is reflected in people’s thoughts on changes to our housing regulations, with over half of respondents in favour of increasing building heights in cities."
Forty-three per cent of those surveyed said they expected to buy a new home in the next 12 months, with 30% saying they were undecided and 27% saying they did not plan to buy.
When asked what factors would influence participation in the housing market, half of respondents said more stock on the market, with the same number name-checking the availability of mortgage finance. Forty-two per cent said confidence in the overall economy would influence participation, while 39% said lowering the deposit required to buy a home would make a difference.
"We are seeing that trust in the overall economy, in light of Brexit and other external pressures, as nearly as much of a factor when it comes to stimulating the housing market as obvious factors like mortgage finance and stock. This will be a growing concern as we approach the Brexit deadline in October."