North's new house sales figures the most positive in the UK

The latest RICS and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey paints a positive picture of the market with newly agreed sales figures in May the most positive of all the UK regions
Gareth McKeown

NEW house sales figures in the north are the most positive in the whole of the UK, according to a new survey.

The latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey paints a positive picture, with newly agreed sales figures in May the most positive of all the UK regions. Over half of respondents (53 per cent) said the number of newly agreed sales increased in the month, while a quarter said instructions to sell jumped - the highest level recorded in four years. With new buyer enquiries also firmly on the rise, surveyors expect sales activity to increase in the months ahead.

The May survey indicates that Northern Ireland house prices continue to move on a upward trajectory, while local surveyors are the UK's most optimistic with regard to the price outlook, with expectation levels the strongest reported since November 2015. Looking ahead to the next 12 months the picture is similarly positive, with a net balance of 65 per cent of respondents predicting a price rise.

RICS residential property spokesman, Samuel Dickey cautioned that a lack of supply remains an issue in the local market.

“Supply constraints have been the biggest concern in the Northern Ireland housing market during recent years, and that's not a situation that is likely to change dramatically in the near future. However, we are seeing evidence that more properties are becoming available for sale, and with buyer interest strong, this is translating into sales activity.”

“There are of course regional variations, and there are some notable hotspots. In east Belfast for instance, there is very strong interest and competitive bidding for properties in areas such as Ballyhackamore, as demand continues to outstrip supply,” he added.

Head of personal banking in Northern Ireland for Ulster Bank, Terry Robb said the local market is "relatively buoyant".

"Surveyors remain optimistic that the relatively positive start to 2018 will be maintained and that sales activity will increase," he said.

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