Housing market recovery in Northern Ireland is slower than rest of UK, survey suggests

While the number of new properties listed for sale in Northern Ireland fell again in June, it was at a slower rate
Gary McDonald Business Editor

THE number of house hunters rebounded in June, but property professionals in the north remain cautious about the year ahead, according to surveyors.

Key indicators across the north's housing market all eased last month from the significant lows experienced during April and May, findings in the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics)/Ulster Bank residential market survey show.

But with restrictions having been loosened in Northern Ireland at a later stage than in England, activity is lagging behind most of Britain, the monthly barometer of sentiment has found.

New buyer enquiries, for instance, are still showing a net balance of minus three per cent (better than 3% (up from -58 per cent last month), whereas in England this has moved into positive territory.

The number of new properties being listed for sale in the UK also rose over the month, but in Northern Ireland the picture was broadly flat at -3 per cent, though this was a significant improvement from -58 per cent in May.

And while the number of new properties being listed for sale in Northern Ireland fell again in June, there was a marked slowing in the rate.

Looking ahead, surveyors in the north are cautious in their near-term outlook but expect prices and sales activity to be higher in a year’s time.

Rics' regional property spokesman Samuel Dickey said: “There are some more encouraging signs evident in the local housing market, with indicators moving in the right direction last month as agents returned to work following lockdown closures.

"Anecdotally, at the end of June, in our experience, activity levels had rebounded significantly with good demand from potential buyers. We are also seeing sales that were in the pipeline before the lockdown now going through.”

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, added: “There is a backlog of valuations ad sales from the past three months still to go through the system, which will boost activity in the short-term.

"But longer-term the employment picture will be an important factor in determining how the housing market performs.”

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