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Ireland's Housing Boom: What has Driven it and Have Prices Overshot?

  • David Rae
  • Paul van den Noord

The Irish housing market is very buoyant. The housing boom is driven by strong economic growth, dynamic demographics and low interest rates. However, large tax advantages and relatively lenient credit policies by banks have also played their part, and prices may have become overvalued. To the extent that high house prices reflect favourable tax treatment, they may lead to economic inefficiencies by drawing excessive resources into residential construction. While a soft landing appears the most likely prospect, a disorderly correction of house prices would pose risks for macroeconomic and possibly financial stability. In this context, one policy lever available to the government would be a phased removal of the tax advantages associated with housing. In addition, banks should remain cautious in their lending and provisioning policies. L'envolée du marché irlandais du logement Le marché de l’immobilier est très dynamique en Irlande. L’essor du logement s’explique par la forte croissance économique, la dynamique démographique et la faiblesse des taux d’intérêt. Cependant, les importants avantages fiscaux et les politiques de crédit relativement libérales des banques ont aussi joué leur rôle et les prix sont désormais peut être surévalués. Dans la mesure où les prix élevés de l’immobilier reflètent un régime fiscal favorable, ils peuvent conduire à des inefficiences économiques en attirant des ressources excessives dans la construction résidentielle. Tandis qu’un atterrissage en douceur apparaît très probable, une correction désordonnée de ces prix ferait peser des risques sur la stabilité macroéconomique, voire financière. Dans ce contexte, un des leviers d’action à la disposition des autorités serait une suppression graduée des avantages fiscaux associés au logement. En outre, les banques devraient être incitées à faire preuve de prudence dans leurs politiques de prêt et de provisionnement.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 492.

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Date of creation: 15 Jun 2006
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:492-en
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