Housing prices saw their first annual fall since 2012 this year, the latest Daft.ie Sales Report shows today.

Housing prices fell by 1.2% during 2019, with the average price nationwide in the final quarter of the year standing at €250,766.

This was 2.4% lower than in the third quarter and 1.2% lower than a year ago, Daft.ie said. 

The reports shows that Dublin home prices fell by 1.2% this year, while Galway city prices were unchanged on 2018. 

In the other main cities, housing prices were higher, with year-on-year increases of 0.8% in Cork, 2.9% in Limerick and 3.3% in Waterford. 

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Prices were also falling in areas other than cities, with prices down by between 0.8% in Munster and 2.6% in Connacht-Ulster, the report added.

Daft.ie also noted that the number of properties available to buy on the market nationwide was just under 22,500 in December, down almost 5% year-on-year. 

It said that after almost a year and a half of improving availability, this marks the fourth month where stock on the market has fallen. 

Commenting on today's report, Ronan Lyons, economist at Trinity College Dublin, said the decade had started with rapidly falling prices and closed with gently falling ones.

The economist said that over the last ten years, the sales segment of the housing market has transformed, albeit slowly. 

"As it enters the 2020s, there appears to be relatively good balance between the pipeline of newly built owner-occupied housing and the number of households able to buy that housing, given constraints such as the mortgage rules," he said. 

"Where falling prices represent the ability of developers to build new homes for less, this fall is good for the country's competitiveness," he added.

But the economist cautioned that the country's housing system is far from healthy, as huge issues with the other segments of the system, including private rental and social housing, remain. 

"In addition, a huge mismatch exists between the existing stock of housing, which is predominantly for households of three or more persons, and the country's housing needs, with one and two person households not only the majority of households already but also accounting for the overwhelming majority of new households the country will add over coming decades," he added.