CIF: Fitch property report 'flawed and irresponsible'

CIF Director General Tom Parlon.

The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has called on the Fitch’s rating agency to look at how they compile their residential property briefings for Ireland in future, according to
The Evening Echo.

It comes after the ratings agency said that Irish property prices could fall another 20% but may yet stabilise in 2013.

The federation said that compiling a macro view of the Irish property market no longer holds water, with Ireland now a series of localised markets.

“It’s not accurate to present a macro picture for Ireland’s property market at present,” said CIF Director General Tom Parlon.

Fitch said Ireland has yet to work out the full consequences of the boom to bust cycle of the past 10 years, with supply/demand evening out in urban areas though overall vacancy rates were high.

“What we’re dealing with is a series of mini marketplaces. That’s why last year prices in places like Dublin, Cork and Galway as well as other urban areas were stabilising at a rate that was completely at odds with what was happening in more rural residential markets.

“The legacy from the Celtic Tiger days is that too much residential property was built in certain parts of the country.

“As you can see from the Government’s vacant housing report produced late last year, this was particularly pronounced in counties likes Cavan, Longford, Sligo, Roscommon and Leitrim.

“The vacancy levels in the National Housing Survey for these areas varied from 17 – 35 per 1,000 households.

“With that level of fluctuation between supply along with the increased level of demand that is manifesting in urban areas, how does it make sense to produce an overall report for the residential market in Ireland?

“It is a flawed and irresponsible approach. It is damaging to some of the localised markets in Ireland at a critical time.

“What’s going to happen to the Dublin market this year will bear little relation to the market in places like Leitrim.

“We agree with the scepticism voiced by Minister Noonan on the report. He claimed that it was a ‘pretty ambiguous kind of assessment’ and we believe that is fair comment.

“This country has learnt a lot since the Celtic Tiger years and one point is that the devil is in the detail," he added.

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