I’ve started looking at the possibility of doing something with the data released by the Irish government on the subject of property prices in Ireland.
This is something which really only started happening in the last few years, and in fact, it started happening well after the property market in Ireland had started to collapse. The first year for which we have data is 2010.
In general terms, I think it is a good thing that we have this data available but there are ways in which it could be enhanced, I think, which would make it more useful.
As far as I am aware, data for the Irish Property Price register comes from stamp duty returns
Currently, the data headers are as follows:
- date of sale
- Address of property
- postal code
- Price in euros
- Not Full Market value (yes or no – in this case YES means it was not full market value)
- VAT Exclusive (yes or no)
- Description (New Dwelling House/Appartment or Secondhand dwelling house/appartment)
- Property size description (greater than 125 sqm, greater than or equal 38 sqm and less than 125 sqm, less than 38 sqm)
As things stand, there is very little useful information about the properties in the register that allow us to do anything particularly interesting.
- Data can be downloaded a county level. The county column is otherwise not useful to an end user
- The postal code field is currently inapplicable for most of the country and for Dublin, it is not always filled in because the postal code has been integrated with the address
- date of sale is useful
- price of property is useful
- full market value or not is useful
- VAT exclusive is useful
- property description only informs us whether the property is new or second hand. It does not tell us the type of property
- property size would be more useful if the bin ranges were more granulated.
Nevertheless I have plans for this data but only within the confines of the possible.
However, one of the things I would consider is how could we make this better for the future?
- postcodes are coming for the entire country. I have yet to look at the implementation (soon) but this could be very useful in terms of segmenting the market, provided they are entered in the correct field.
- No estate agent describes a property as a new or second hand dwelling house/apartment. DAFT, for example, drills down house, apartment, duplex, bungalow. Arguably to that we could add detached, semi detached, terrace (or town house or whatever you’re having yourself for houses bounded on both sides). Put simply, for type of property, there isn’t enough information.
- Additional column for new or secondhand dwelling
- Accurate surface area measurements. At this point I need to note that from experience, in other countries, surface area is more important in ads and classifiers to the numbers of bedrooms and bathrooms. I would like it if a) it was mandatory to provide surface area measurements in property sale/rent ads and that this information gets included in the property price registry.
There are a few benefits here. Price per square meter is a useful indicator of value across different areas (which might be more definable with valid postcodes). We can also get a picture of which are are bigger houses (I have plans to look into what I can find on the subject of surface area measurements against time at some stage too).
Our property market now is very different to what it was in 2007, but also compared to what it was in 2000, and in 1993. We built a lot of apartments in later years which makes comparing averages very difficult and fraught with danger.
According to the data I have available to me right now, up to 7 October or so, there have been 5943 sales in the Dublin area. In comparison, for the whole of 2012, there were 8808 sales based on a superficial glance at the data.
I will be having a look at this in more detail and will post the outcome in the future and I will also put the code up on github.
In the meantime, it would be nice if we could consider getting past “we have a register” and on to the question “how can we make it even more useful”.