We are a nation obsessed with the price of bricks and mortar. During the heady days of the Celtic Tiger, people would marvel that they were ‘earning’ more through the increase in the value of their home than in their wages. Having peaked in 2007, prices cratered and many of the same people, mortgaged to the hilt, were acutely aware of just how deep a ‘negative equity’ hole they were in.
The run-up in prices in the decade to 2007 was a textbook ‘bubble’, fuelled by a toxic mix of easy credit, frantic speculation and suspended belief. When the bubble burst, prices more than halved and the number of homes being bought and sold – along with the credit to finance them – dried up.