NI house prices continue to rise in positive residential market

House prices in the north continue to rise, but a lack of stock remains a cause for concern according to a new survey
Gareth McKeown

HOUSE prices in the north continue to rise, but a lack of stock remains a cause for concern according to a new survey.

The latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey paints a relatively positive picture of the local market, with the number of respondents saying prices had risen in Northern Ireland in the past three months the highest of all UK regions.

Expectations around prices and sales have both strengthened, the former the highest in the UK, while new instructions to sell edged upwards according to the April survey, indicating that the number of people putting their properties onto the market is rising.

New buyer enquiries also picked up after two consecutive months where the balance of respondents pointed to a fall in enquiries.

Newly agreed sales however, were broadly flat last month, while a lack of housing stock remains a concern in some areas.

RICS residential property spokesman, Samuel Dickey said the local market is "fairly positive" at present.

“Anecdotally, the new homes market is performing well with strong levels of activity and as we approach summer, resales activity should pick up, although lack of stock remains a concern in some areas."

“Looking ahead, surveyors expect to see increases in prices and sales, so the outlook remains positive despite some uncertainty around the economic and political environments," he added.

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, added: “As we move into the second quarter of the year, surveyors remain optimistic that the relatively positive start to 2018 will be maintained; albeit that the lack of supply clearly remains a challenge."

The separate Ulster University Quarterly House Price Index also paints a positive picture of the local market, with a steady rate of price growth recorded in the first three months of the year, despite a slight decrease in sales volume.

The overall average price for the first quarter of 2018 was £163,621, representing an annual increase of 6.6 per cent relative to the first quarter of 2017.

However, allowing for differences in sample mix by property type, the weighted increase over the year is 4 per cent, indicating real growth in sale price above the rate of inflation.

The average house price for Northern Ireland is also 3.1 per cent higher over the quarter.

Sales volumes are lower at the start of 2018 according to the figures, with the adverse weather conditions cited as a factor.

The volume of transactions in the survey is 1,842 compared with 2,219 at the end of 2017.

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