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Housing market to enter 2018 'with some momentum' suggest latest survey from RICS and Ulster Bank

RICS residential property spokesman, Samuel Dickey
Gail Bell

THE housing market in Northern Ireland is set to end 2017 on a 'high' according to the latest analysis from industry experts, RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyros) and the Ulster Bank.

And, in their latest residential market survey, they also suggest that the building blocks are in place for further growth in 2018.

House prices and sales rose firmly according to the balance of local respondents to the November survey and prices and sales activity are both expected to increase in the three months ahead.

The survey also reports that Northern Ireland surveyors are positive about the prospects for house prices and sales over the next 12-months, with the balance of respondents expecting both sales activity and prices to be higher in a year's time.

However, surveyors continue to report on a lack of housing stock which is proving an ongoing challenge for the market – new instructions to sell significantly lagged behind new buyer enquiries, indicating an imbalance between supply and demand.

"Overall, 2017 has been a good year for the local housing market," said RICS residential property spokesman, Samuel Dickey. "We have seen relatively healthy rates of price increase and rising sales activity."

"Looking ahead to 2018, there will be a number of headwinds, including the limited supply, alongside rising inflation and the fact that interest rates are edging upwards. However, surveyors appear to be reasonably confident about the market in the year ahead."

RICS figures are in line with other indicators in pointing to a "relatively strong year" for the housing market, according to Sean Murphy, managing director, Personal Banking at Ulster Bank.

"The latest NI House Price Index, for instance, reports average prices rising six percent year-on-year and the latest CML mortgage lending data shows that home buyers in Northern Ireland borrowed £480 million in the third quarter of the year, up 12 per cent on the second quarter of 2017 and 20 per cent compared to the third quarter last year," Mr Murphy said.

"Our own experience of the market suggests that this trend has continued into Q4 and it would appear that the local housing market will enter 2018 with some momentum."

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