North's house price growth slowing as political uncertainty weighs on the market

The May Residential Market Survey reveals that house prices in the north are rising at slower rate
Gareth McKeown

ONGOING political uncertainty is impacting upon the local housing market, a new report shows.

While house prices in the north continue to rise, a slowdown in the market is evident, according to the latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Northern Ireland Residential Market Survey.

The May report reveals that prices are rising at slower rate following a strong period of growth recorded in recent years. Respondents also reported that new buyer enquiries and new instructions to sell were lower last month.

The short-term outlook is no brighter with surveyors' expectations in relation to prices and sales activity both in negative territory. Looking further ahead a net balance of +35 percent of respondents expect prices to increase over the next 12 months, albeit less than the April figure (+54 per cent).

Ongoing political and economic uncertainty in Northern Ireland in relation to Brexit and the lack of a local Executive, as well as the approaching holiday period have been cited by surveyors as key contributory factors in the latest results.

Samuel Dickey, RICS residential property spokesman in Northern Ireland believes the reported slowdown is not reflective of the market in all areas of the north.

“We have seen the housing market perform strongly in recent years in terms of price rises and activity, but there now appears to be significant variation in the market, with some surveyors reporting lower demand and lower levels of price rises in some areas," he said

"My own experience is that there continues to be strong demand in places like North Down, Belfast, and Ards. Demand for new build homes continues to be a real feature of the market in these areas too."

Terry Robb, head of personal Banking at Ulster Bank added:

"The summer period tends to be more subdued in terms of sales, as people embark upon summer holidays and a potential move is not as high on their agenda. We have however witnessed the ongoing strength in first-time buyer demand for mortgages and we expect mortgage activity remain strong into the second half of the year, particularly in the self-build and co-ownership segments."

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