NI house prices rise by over 4% as more first-time buyers enter the market
HOUSE prices in Northern Ireland have increased by over 4 per cent since last year, according to the latest figures.
The House Price Index, released by Land & Property Services and covering the first three months of the year, shows the average price of a home in the north now sits at £130,026, a 4.2 per cent hike on the same period in 2017. It is also a marginal increase (0.3 per cent) on the figure recorded for the final three months of last year.
All eleven district council areas saw prices rise in comparison to the corresponding period in 2017, with Mid Ulster recording the biggest increase of 7.8 per cent to a new average of £133,294, closely followed by Fermanagh and Omagh, which saw a jump of 6.6 per cent over the year to £119,223. Six of the 11 council areas saw an increase over the quarter, while Derry City and Strabane, which remains the cheapest place to buy a home, recorded the sharpest fall of 3.4 per cent over the quarter, bringing the average price down to £112,648.
The Lisburn and Castlereagh council area is the most expensive place to purchase a home in Northern Ireland at £153,181. Prices in Belfast increased over the quarter and year by 1.1 per cent and 5.2 per cent respectively to £123,149.
A total of 4,545 residential properties were sold during the first three months of 2018, with prices now 17.2 per cent higher than same period three years ago.
Separate figures, also released yesterday show a significant rise in the number of first time buyers entering the market at the start of 2018. According to the data from UK Finance there were 2,200 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in Northern Ireland in the first three months of the year, a 10 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2017. The £0.22bn of new lending was also 10 per cent more in comparison to last year. According to the figures the average first-time buyer is 30 and has a gross household income of £33,000.
There were 1,400 new homemover mortgages completed in the first three months of the year, 16.7 per cent more than in the same quarter of 2017, while the £0.19bn of new lending in the period was an 18.8 per cent jump. The average Northern Ireland homemover is 39 and has a gross household income of £46,000.
The number of new homeowner remortgages increased by 9.5 per cent from last year to the highest levels since 2009, with 2,300 recorded, while the total value increased by 19 per cent.
Derek Wilson, the chair of UK Finance's Northern Ireland Mortgage Committee said the latest figures were positive.
"Northern Ireland's mortgage market has enjoyed the strongest start to the year across the UK," he said.
"Northern Ireland remains one of the most affordable regions in the UK with property prices rising at a steady and sustainable pace."
Head of mortgages at Danske Bank, Patrick Mullan, said the figures show there is "positive momentum" in the local market.
“While the economic outlook is for steady rather than spectacular growth, this survey indicates the housing market in Northern Ireland is in good health. The NI market has enjoyed the strongest start to the year of any region of the UK but although prices are rising, affordability measures still compare favourably to the UK average, so there is capacity for further sustainable growth in Northern Ireland this year.”