Housing market 'buoyant' in north which records strongest growth in UK

The latest RICS and Ulster Bank survey highlights the fact people continue to want to own their own home

THE housing market in Northern Ireland remains in positive territory – particularly for properties priced below £250,000 – according to the latest survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank.

Figures show that the headline price balance for Northern Ireland was +51 per cent – meaning that more than half of the surveyors questioned said prices had risen in the past three months.

Other main findings include an increased sales expectation in August of +61 per cent – one of the most positive in the UK – although price expectations dipped back to +39 per cent, presenting a more modest reading compared to the previous month.

Meanwhile, the new buyer enquiries balance was positive for the 12th month in succession at +36 per cent and new instructions-to-sell balance was +19 per cent in August – the most positive in four months, but coming off a low base.

In terms of newly agreed sales, the net balance was +28 per cent in August, compared with +11 per cent in July.

Overall, the report authors described the market as "buoyant", with Northern Ireland recording the strongest growth across the UK for house prices.

RICS residential property spokesman, Samuel Dickey, said it all pointed to a "positive picture" in terms of trajectory of activity and outlook.

"As ever, though, there are markets within markets," he said.

"Different parts of Northern Ireland are more buoyant than others and there are variations between different property types and levels of the market.

"The latest NI Residential Property Price Index highlights this, with new-build homes rising significantly faster than that of existing or resold housing stock.

"Also, average prices in rural areas are up 6.3 per cent in the past year, compared to 3.7 per cent for urban areas."

Managing director of personal banking at the Ulster Bank, Sean Murphy, said the survey was the latest piece of "strong economic data" for Northern Ireland, following the Ulster Bank PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) for August which recorded the strongest rate of private sector output this year.

"There are no doubt challenges in the economy, including rising inflation, but the latest survey highlights that people continue to want to own their own home and that the outlook for the market amongst surveyors remains quite upbeat," Mr Murphy added.

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