Positive outlook for buoyant Northern Ireland housing market

The latest market survey for September shows that the north has the highest balance of respondents in the UK expecting prices and sales activity to increase in the next three months
Gareth McKeown

THE outlook for the Northern Ireland housing market is more positive than the rest of the UK, the latest industry figures show.

The RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey for September has revealed that the north has the highest balance of respondents expecting prices (28 per cent) and sales activity (23 per cent) to increase in the next three months, while last month the number of surveyors who noted price increases in the past three months was also significantly higher than the UK average. A total of 39 per cent more surveyors said that prices rose in the past three months than those who said they fell.

The positive data was off set by a softening in the data for new buyer enquiries, newly agreed sales, and new instructions to sell, with all moving into negative territory, albeit relatively marginally. Surveyors have highlighted a lack of housing as one key factor for the slowdown.

RICS residential property spokesman, Samuel Dickey said the latest survey paints a "relatively upbeat picture" for the Northern Ireland housing market.

"Indeed, Northern Ireland and Scotland are the only parts of the UK where surveyors are confident that prices will rise meaningfully over the near-term. With key indicators for the local economy continuing to show strong growth in the private sector, this optimism is perhaps unsurprising. The one key challenge though remains supply, with surveyors continuing to indicate that availability of stock remains a problem.”

Managing director for personal banking at Ulster Bank, Sean Murphy said it was clear that the year to date has been a reasonably positive one for the local housing market.

"The latest data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders showed that the number of loans for home purchase was up 15 percent in the second quarter of the year compared to last year. Our own experience at Ulster Bank suggests that this positive activity trend continued into the third quarter, and surveyors remain confident in relation to the outlook for the final three months of the year.”

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