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Irish Retail Sales Rise as Noonan Readies Plan

Irish home prices and retail sales rose in March, as the economy continued to recover from its worst recession on record.

Irish home prices rose 0.9 percent in March from the previous month, after a drop of 0.4 percent in February, the Central Statistics Office said on Tuesday in Dublin. Prices rose 17 percent from the year earlier period.

Ireland was the globe’s top-performing real estate market in 2014, according to the Global Property Guide, just years after the collapse of a real estate bubble sent the nation’s financial system to the brink of collapse. At 2 p.m. in Dublin today, Finance Minister Michael Noonan is due to deliver the spring economic statement, laying out plans for tax cuts and spending increases as the economy continues to recover.

Ireland will “top the euro zone growth league table for the second year running,” said Alan McQuaid, an economist at Merrion Capital in Dublin, forecasting economic growth of more than 4 percent this year.

Retail sales rose 1.4 percent in March and gained 9.2 percent from the year earlier period as car sales surged, the statistics office said today in a separate report. Motor trades surged 23 percent from the year-earlier period.

Dublin home prices rose 1.1 percent in March from February, and gained 23 percent on an annual basis. At national level, property prices remain 38 percent below their peak level in 2007, the statistics office said.

“The extreme gap between supply and demand points to a prolonged period of rising house prices,” said Fiona Hayes, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald LP in Dublin. “We are forecasting an annual house price rise of 9.9 percent this year.”

Bloomberg News, edited by Checkout

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