Business

House prices in Northern Ireland continue to rise at faster rate than rest of the UK

RICS' regional residential property spokesman Samuel Dickey
Gary McDonald Business Editor

HOUSE prices in Northern Ireland are continuing to rise at a stronger rate than the rest of the UK, bolstered by a lack of supply in the market.

Close to half (44 per cent) of surveyors who fed in to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) residential market report said the upwards trajectory had continued for the last three months.

But they admit they are less optimistic going forward, with the potential for a no-deal Brexit scenario prompting sellers to err on the side of caution.

However, the 12-month outlook is more positive, with surveyors predicting that prices will continue to rise over the year ahead and that sales activity will recover.

RICS' regional residential property spokesman Samuel Dickey said: “While the figures reflect the overall picture in Northern Ireland, we continue to find divergence at local levels and when considering different types of properties.

“Re-sales activity has fallen back but the new homes market is buoyant, with more developments incoming through the rest of the year. First-time buyers continue to express strong interest in buying even against the current political landscape and as such the Northern Ireland housing market overall continues to outperform the rest of the UK.”

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, which supports the months house index, added: “A range of indicators have been pointing to something of a slowdown in the local housing market.

“The latest figures show average prices increased just 0.8 per cent between quarters one and two this year.

“But despite this and the uncertain economic backdrop, the local housing market continues to perform relatively well compared to other UK regions. The fact that demand continues to outstrip supply locally is supporting prices and this is likely to continue to be the case.”

Main findings of the survey were:

• The balance of respondents reporting an increase in house prices during the last 3 months continues to be the highest in the UK, with a net balance of 44 per cent of surveyors indicating a rise;

• It is expected that in the near-term prices will continue to rise but at a slower rate, with a net balance of +8 per cent of respondents forecasting a raise compared to +27 per cent in July;

• Sales predictions for the next three months have fallen into negative figures, with a net balance of -12 per cent suggesting they will decrease;

• New buyer enquires during August increased slightly (net balance of +5 per cent), however the volume of properties coming onto the market experienced a sharp drop (from -7 per cent to -25 per cent);

• A net balance of +66 per cent of respondents in Northern Ireland expect prices to continue increasing over the year ahead, with expectations for sales also returning to positive figures (net balance of +11 per cent).

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