Confidence grows as house prices keep on creeping upwards to £160,758 average

The north's housing market is displaying confidence, according to a UU sectoral report
Gary McDonald Business Editor

HOUSE prices in the north are still creeping upwards, with the market showing what experts claim is "confidence and resilience", a new report claims.

Consumer sentiment may be mixed elsewhere, but a healthy 5.8 per cent hike on average property prices over the summer suggests that the uncertainty about those wider macro-economy concerns may be diminishing, according to Ulster University's latest quarterly house price index.

Produced in partnership with the NI Housing Executive and Progressive Building Society and widely regarded as the "go-to" barometer of the local property market, the report reveals an overall average house price of £160,758 from July to September.

That's up 5.8 per cent on the previous quarter but, significant, is a rise of 1.9 per cent year-on-year, and the volume of transactions in the survey is 2,295.

“This is a healthy performance, suggesting concerns about uncertainty in the wider economy, the potential impacts of Brexit and the lack of a functioning local Executive are having a diminishing effect on the private housing sector," lead researcher Professor Stanley McGreal from Ulster University said.

“Price levels are generally to the upside and the volume of transactions remains at a high level.”

But he cautioned that a significant factor in the overall market uplift was a continued reliance on the ‘bank of mum and dad'.

Prices over the quarter rose in all parts of Northern Ireland (except Derry/Strabane) over the quarter, and for all property types.

The average cost of a house in the north is now £160,758 - up 5.8 per cent over the quarter and 1.9 per cent on the same time last year

In Belfast the average price of properties overall is £173,531, though there are gaping variations depending on where in the city you live.

South Belfast regained its position as the highest priced sub-market in the city with the average house costing £230,010, which is more than twice the average price than for north Belfast (£110,432).

By property type, terraced/townhouses were the biggest movers in the last year, with a 10.6 per cent increase to £108,141 since 2016.

Annually, detached houses slipped by by just under one per cent, but quarter-on-quarter increased seven per cent to £250,259.

Progressive's finance director Michael Boyd said: “The underlining outlook is that we have a strong housing market in Northern Ireland with more affordability than other regions of the UK."

And Karly Greene from the Housing Executive added: “An average sale price of just under £161,000 is in line with an overall trend for sustainable house price growth, and the number of transactions in the sample points towards a healthy level of activity in the market.”

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