IRELAND - Ireland's property market continued its decline in the third quarter, with values falling for the 15th consecutive quarter.

According to IPD's latest set of data for the three months to September, values fell by 4.6%, with an overall negative market return of 2.3% across the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI)/IPD Ireland quarterly property index.

It comes in the wake of the National Asset Management Agency's (NAMA) chief executive seeking to stimulate the market by offering 70% of financing to pension schemes and sovereign wealth funds.

IPD also noted that there had been no recorded transactions in the market, with the last one recorded in Q1, while retail returns were hit particularly hard in Q3 as shopping centre values fell by 6.3%.

Overall, the retail sector saw the least capital growth, falling by more than 5%, while industrial assets saw a 4.3% decline compared with a 4.1% drop in capital growth from office units.

Explaining the lack of activity, Hugh Markey, chair of the commercial agency professional group at SCSI, noted the ongoing regulatory uncertainty in Ireland surrounding proposals to ban upward-only rent increases - stressing that "certainty and transparency" were the two areas the markets demanded.

"We, in the Society, are looking forward to the government's draft bill on rent reviews because, while there are elements that may be uncomfortable for landlords and tenants, at least it will bring a degree of closure to the issue, which has brought continuing confusion and doubt at the worst possible time," Markey said.

The chairman further highlighted the planned introduction of a public database of all commercial property leases, to be enacted in a separate bill, as an important development.

"This database will make a massive impact on bringing knowledge and transparency to the property market," he added.

Markey said that while there continued to be expressions of interest in commercial property, agreeing a sale remained "very difficult".

"Converting enquiries into sales will need confidence-building measures, some light at the end of the tunnel on bank reform, the long-promised legislation and measures in December's Budget to the reduce stamp duty in commercial property to UK levels," he said.

The chief executive of NAMA, Brendan McDonagh, last week sought to engage investors in the Irish market by offering institutional investors 70% of financing to acquire one of its properties.

He said that, with financial institutions not underwriting lending, the lack of liquidity continued to act as a "serious constraint" on market growth.

NAMA manages €74.2bn of non-performing loans previously owned by five Irish banks.