Annual growth of 3.5% recorded in north's 'resilient' house market
HOUSE prices in the north remain well below the UK average, despite an annual uplift of 3.5 per cent, official figures show.
The latest Northern Ireland Residential Property Price Index, which covers the first three months of the year, has revealed the average price of a home now sits at £134,811.
The figure is 3.5 per cent higher than the same period in 2018, but 1 per cent down on the previous quarter - the first such fall in two years.
The current Northern Ireland average house price remains significantly lower than the overall UK total of £226,798.
Looking closer at the figures, the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council area is the most expensive place to buy a home at £160,301 on average and the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area is the most affordable (£119,951).
The Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council reported the sharpest annual rise in price of 9.6 per cent to £144,168, while the Newry, Mourne and Down and Mid Ulster council areas were the only two to report declines in price over the year.
This compares to eight council areas that recorded a price fall from the end of 2018, the most pronounced of which (-4 per cent) in Derry City and Strabane (£120,651).
A total of 4,272 residential properties were sold in the first three months of 2019, according to the figures, but this total will likely increase once late sales are taken into account.
Ulster Bank chief economist, Richard Ramsey said the latest figures are largely positive, but continue a trend of slowing price growth witnessed across the UK and Ireland.
"Northern Ireland’s housing market has been a source of continued positivity in recent years, with housebuilding, prices, transactions and mortgage activity all at multi-year highs. Though the property market remains in recovery mode, rather than recovered, following the biggest residential property downturn in UK history," he said.
Simon Brien of estate agents, Simon Brien Residential also reflected positively on the latest statistics.
“The last quarter of 2018 was very strong, and even with the slight decrease in Q1, Northern Ireland is proving itself a strong and resilient market. As has been the case for the past number of years, we know that demand is currently outstripping supply in the private resale market," he said.
“In the face of the well documented Brexit uncertainty, we anticipate the housing market to remain steady as, in this market, there is a massive shortfall of new housing following the downturn of 2008 to 2013 when new house building virtually halted.”