House prices have risen by almost 1.5% over the last three months, a new study has found.
A record number of mortgage approvals and a lack of supply have driven the increases, according to the quarter-four Real Estate Alliance (REA) House Price Index.
The average three-bedroomed semi-detached house is now reaching sale agreed status after just six weeks on the market - a significant fall from the 10-week average in June.
Many estate agents are reporting that houses are reaching sale agreed status within a four-week period, as mortgage-approved buyers chase a limited amount of stock.
Despite fears of a downturn in the market during the Covid-19 crisis, the price of a three-bed semi across the country rose by more than €3,000 over the past three months to €239,194 - an annual increase of 1.9%.
REA spokesman Barry McDonald said: "People are watching the market very closely, and our agents are finding that as soon as they put a property up on our sites, the majority of the inquiries are coming within the first 48 hours.
The biggest rises in the fourth quarter of the year came in cities, other than Dublin, and the commuter counties.
Both of these experienced the least movement in prices over the preceding 18 months.
Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford cities shared a combined increase of 2.4% in the past 12 weeks with prices rising by €6,000 to an average of €262,500.
Cork City saw its first price movement in over a year with a 1.6% uplift to €325,000, while Limerick prices remained stable.
Waterford City showed the biggest increase, with prices rising by €15,000 in 12 weeks to €230,000 - a change of 7% since September.
Galway City saw prices rise by €5,000 (1.8%) in the same period, with any property with Home Office Potential (HOP) continuing to attract attention, according to agents McGreal Burke, and properties going sale-agreed after four weeks.
Commuter counties are now feeling the benefit of the migration towards space and home working potential, with three-bed semis rising 2.2% by almost €6,000 on the Q3 figure to an average of €253,111.