Business

North's housing market among the UK's strongest, but outlook less positive

The latest RICS and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey for December has revealed that the Northern Ireland housing market continues to outperform the UK as a whole in terms of increased prices and sales.
Gareth McKeown

THE north's housing market is among the best performing in the UK, but the future outlook is less positive, according to new figures.

The latest RICS and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey for December has revealed that the Northern Ireland housing market continues to outperform the UK as a whole in terms of increased prices and sales.

In relation to the former a greater proportion of respondents from the north said that prices rose compared to all other UK regions. Sales also increased last month in comparison to November, according to the latest data.

The survey further showed growth in newly agreed sales last month in comparison to November.

It also revealed that new buyer enquiries fell in December compared to November, while new instructions to sell were broadly flat.

Looking ahead and Northern Ireland surveyors are now more cautious in relation to the outlook for the local market.

The net balance for price expectations was -8 per cent, meaning that eight per cent more Northern Ireland respondents expect prices to fall in the next quarter than expect them to rise. For sales expectations the figure was -21 per cent.

RICS residential property spokesman, Samuel Dickey said it is clear that surveyors in the north are less optimistic than they once were.

“Northern Ireland surveyors have been more optimistic than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK for a number of months, but their expectations now appear to be falling more into line with elsewhere when considering the three months ahead," he said.

Terry Robb, Head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank added:

“Surveyors are becoming more cautious in their outlook, reflecting some uncertainty in the wider environment. However, the figures for December point to rises in both sales and prices. In line with this mortgage demand remains good, reflecting the fact that many people in Northern Ireland continue to want to own their own home or move to a new property.”

Meanwhile official figures, released yesterday show that average house price in Northern Ireland increased by 4.8 per cent over the year to November.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows the average price of a house stands at £135,000.

UK house prices edged up by 2.8 per cent in the year to November to an average of £231,000. They fell marginally (0.1 per cent) over the month.

The lowest annual growth was in London, where prices fell by 0.7 per cent over the year to an average of £473,000.

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