This article by Martin Walsh in the Irish Times has some convincing analysis (unfortunately the graphics are not shown in the on-line version), and some thought-provoking comments on the Irish government policy conundrum regarding residential house prices. As Martin Walsh notes, to minimize expected future (state-owned) bank losses and Nama losses, policymakers must hope that prices have now fallen to their steady-state equilibrium level. But for the purposes of restoring competitiveness, continued house price decreases would be better.
“… it seems that there is a real dilemma at the heart of national policy. Do we prioritise competitiveness by bringing house prices back into line with incomes or keep them inflated in the hope of reducing further losses to the banks and Nama (National Asset Management Agency), as well as containing the extent of negative equity?”
Most importantly, by most long-term metrics, current house prices in Ireland still seem to be above sustainable levels.
What actions (if any) should Irish policymakers pursue regarding stabilizing the residential housing market, and to what ends?