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Northern Ireland housing market buoyant despite Brexit uncertainty, Rics survey

House prices are on the up in Northern Ireland

ANY uncertainty around the forthcoming referendum on European Union membership is not affecting confidence in Northern Ireland's housing market, according to surveyors.

They anticipated house prices in the north to rise unabated over the next three months.

But the findings of the latest residential market survey for Northern Ireland by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) and Ulster Bank was at odds with the overall UK picture.

Surveyors in Britain expect house price inflation to slow down due to the referendum and the bedding in of new stamp duty laws.

Rics said their confidence in the north's market followed strong price data for the first quarter of the year.

The body's residential property spokesman in Northern Ireland Samuel Dickey said a lack of properties coming to market was boosting prices.

“The changes in stamp duty, in addition to the upcoming EU referendum and the forthcoming Assembly election are combining to create uncertainty in the economy," he said.

"However, there is little sign of this impacting on the Northern Ireland housing market at this stage in terms of expectations for prices and sale.

"The ongoing lack of supply in the market is certainly a factor in this, acting to put upward pressure on prices, as well as the fact that Northern Ireland’s housing market remains in recovery mode, with prices and sales still significantly below their peak.”

Ulster Bank's regional managing director for branch and private banking Sean Murphy added: “March brought the first quarter of 2016 to a close and the latest survey suggests that it was a relatively strong start to the year in terms of prices.

"Surveyors are also optimistic about expectations for both prices and sales activity. Mortgage activity at Ulster Bank remains strong and we expect to continue that in the months ahead. We are committed to helping people take steps into home-ownership, to move home, and to remortgage.

"Our participation in the Help to Buy ISA scheme and our wide range of other mortgage products are a strong sign of that commitment.”

According to the latest survey, a net balance of +55 per cent of Northern Ireland surveyors reported price increases in the last three months. A net balance of +46 percent expect prices to continue rising in the April to June quarter.

Rics said it anticipates Northern Ireland housing prices to rise by around 5 per cent over the course of 2016.

According to the latest official figures contained the the Residential Property Price Index, the value of a typical house in Northern Ireland rose by 7 per cent in 2015, making the cost of a standard home in the north £118,014.

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