Business

North's house prices increase for a fifth consecutive year

House prices in the north have grown for a fifth consecutive year
Gareth McKeown

HOUSE prices in the north have grown for a fifth consecutive year, according to local surveyors.

The latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey shows the Northern Ireland market remains strong, with the outlook for sales and house prices the most positive in the UK.

The latest data shows that almost half of surveyors (48 per cent) said house prices increased in the past three months, while 45 per cent expect prices to rise in the next three months. Despite being the strongest figures in the UK house prices remain below the 2007 peak according to the survey.

In relation to sales a net balance of 58 per cent of surveyors said they expect an increase in the next three months, while 64 per cent expect to see it over the year.

New buyer enquiries increased according to the figures, bucking the trend across the UK, which has experienced a more cautious approach from prospective purchasers in the wake of the Bank of England's decision to increase interest rates in August and continued broader political and economic uncertainty.

Newly agreed sales in Northern Ireland also increased at the highest rate in the UK in August, but new instructions to sell fell according to the figures, pointing to a decline in the supply of fresh stock coming on to market

RICS residential property spokesman, Samuel Dickey expects the market to remain "relatively strong" in spite of the political and economic uncertainty.

“Average prices in Northern Ireland though still remain well below their 2007 peak, unlike many other UK regions, which perhaps helps explain the continued upward trajectory of prices here," he said.

“With new buyer enquiries continuing to see increases, it appears that recent interest rate rises have not impacted on buyer interest in Northern Ireland.”

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, added: “Northern Ireland's housing market is continuing to display more positive sentiment than the UK average and that shows no sign of changing in the short term.

“Buying or moving home remains an attractive option for many people, as, despite rising prices, buying in Northern Ireland remains relatively very affordable. We see evidence that people have a strong desire to own their own home and are interested in re-mortgaging to move house.”

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