Average price paid for a house rose to the highest level in over a decade during third quarter

The north recorded the highest average price of properties sold on the open market for more than a decade in the third quarter
Ryan McAleer

THE north hit the highest average price paid for properties on the open market for more than a decade, new research from Ulster University has shown.

The average price of home bought here rose to £171,763 between July and September .

House prices were up by five per cent in the third quarter of 2019 compared with the same period last year and 5.7 per cent up on the second quarter of 2019.

The University’s quarterly house price index, produced with the Progressive Building Society and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), recorded 2,339 transactions in the three months to the end of September.

The number of properties sold for under £100,000 fell by six per cent during the third quarter, accounting for 18 per cent of all deals done. The number of homes sold at below £150,000 was also down slightly to 55 per cent.

While the overall number of transactions were done on the last quarter, the number of higher value deals were up.

But the research found that Brexit and the associated economic uncertainty continued to curtail purchaser confidence and transaction levels.

Some estate agents did report an increase in house buying the first-time-buyer sector of the market over the course of the third quarter.

Head of research of the NIHE, Kathy Greene said: “These figures reflect the highest average price of properties sold on the open market in Northern Ireland for more than a decade, with a strong level of transactions reflecting ongoing demand, especially for affordable dwellings.

“There is reason to expect that the market will remain relatively healthy in the immediate future, while 2020 may bring a greater degree of clarity about some of the factors influencing the longer-term outlook.”

Lead researcher, Dr Martin Hinch from Ulster University said the third quarter reflected an element of “buoyancy” in the north’s housing market, following a prolonged period of relatively passive house price performance.

“This growth suggests robust market sustainability and displays a level of resilience through what has been an unprecedented and continued period of uncertainty,” he said.

“The ongoing Brexit situation together with the outcome of the upcoming general election will undoubtedly exert a significant short term influence upon the political and economic direction of the UK and Northern Ireland over the coming months.”

Progressive Building Society’s finance director Michael Boyd said the north remains one of the most affordable housing markets in the UK. Nevertheless, he said the rise in prices represented a welcome stimulus to the local market.

“However, there is still a reticence amongst some buyers and a requirement of a positive Brexit outcome will be crucial to supporting economic prosperity and the continuation of strong levels of transactions in the housing market.”

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