It’s probably no coincidence that the Residential Property Price Register (RPPR) was finally launched yesterday by the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) just ahead of the latest quarterly reports by Daft.ie and Myhome.ie. The latter two have been key sources of information about house prices over the past few years, providing asking price information at local authority level, along with the CSO’s Residential Property Price Index that provides average selling price but aggregated to two zones, Dublin and everywhere else. All three existing sources of property price data have problems, either providing asking rather than selling price, and/or having very weak spatial resolution that enables an analysis at a local level, or in the case of the CSO not including cash sales.
The RPPR addresses these issues in that it provides sale price for individual properties for all residential sales, including cash sales. The data includes the address of each property sold, the date of sale, and the price. It is not without its shortcomings, however. Details about the property sold are limited, with no infromation about the size of the property (e.g. number of bedrooms) or site size or if the property is a house or apartment (although it does report if it is new or secondhand). It only includes property sold since January 2010 meaning that whilst it gives an indication of current values it provides no long-term detail on the drop in value since the start of the crash. In addition the PRSA notes that ‘In a small number of transactions the price reported does not represent the full market price of the property concerned for a variety of reasons. For example, the price declared may reflect the retention of an interest in the property by the previous owner, or the fact that a part or fraction only of the property is being purchased; alternatively, the property may have been purchased at a reduced price under the Affordable Homes Scheme.’
That said, the RPPR marks a significant step forward in filling a large data gap with respect to residential property in Ireland. It means that for the first time buyers and sellers will be able to see how the market has been performing locally, rather than having to rely on estate agents guidance. It also provides property analysts with a much better picture of the state of the housing market. It therefore is to be very much welcomed.