One-in-five abandon plans to buy a home in Northern Ireland during pandemic

More than half of first time buyers believe house prices will fall by up to ten per cent in the next 12 months.
Ryan McAleer

ONE-in-five people in the north have abandoned plans to buy a house because of the impact of Covid-19, according to a new survey.

The PropertyPal website carried out the research based on the responses of 1,502 adults at the end of May 2020. It included 1,397 first-time buyers and home movers.

But while 20 per cent said they no longer planning to buy a house, a higher number said they were now considering it following the pandemic.

Some 25 per cent of respondents, who did not plan to buy before the coronavirus lockdown, said they were now intent on buying their own home.

More than half of those surveyed (54 per cent), believe house prices will fall by up to ten per cent in the next 12 months.

The research comes just days after the north’s property market got back up and running on Monday.

PropertyPal’s chief economist, Jordan Buchanan, said Covid-19 has had a profound and immediate impact on the economy and housing market.

“Whilst ensuring the health of families and loved ones remains the top priority, housing has become increasingly important with many now confined to their homes for longer period of times.”

According to the survey, just eight per cent of first time buyers intend on buying an apartment, while 75 per cent said they want a detached or semi-detached property.

Mr Buchanan said that outdoor space and fast internet is becoming more desirable, while traditional drivers such as schools appear less important.

“What happens in the housing market follows a very close pattern with the wider economic climate and it is clear we are in the midst of a deep recession. The early indicators suggest there will be an initial flurry of activity when the market reopens but this should settle quickly.”

However, he said the full impact may not be known until the end of the UK Government’s furlough scheme at the end of October.

“It is plausible to see reductions in the short term in the region of 5%, provided there is a fast-economic recovery. A weaker economic recovery with higher levels of unemployment would likely result in a greater downward impact on house prices.”

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