Business

Lawn-loving home buyers keep housing market ticking over says Rics

Months spent in lockdown have prompted home buyers to put a garden or access to green space at the top of their wish-list, according to Rics
Gary McDonald Business Editor

MORE home-buyers in Northern Ireland will be seeking houses with gardens or near parks, all triggered by the way our lifestyles have changed during the pandemic, property experts have said.

Latest research by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) and Ulster Bank, which asked professionals for their views about how they envisage a change in desired property types, point to home-seekers wanting to be near an open green space.

The survey also says buying intentions in the north at at a five-year high and above another other region in the UK as enquiries, sales and new instructions all continue to rise as pent up demand and the stamp duty holiday continue to influence the market.

A net balance of plus-75 per cent of Northern Ireland repondents saw an increase in new buyer enquiries over the month, although the longer-term outlook is more cautious.

As buyer enquiries continued to rise, new instructions also saw a jump, with a net balance of 69 per cent of survey participants in the north noting an increase in sellers listing property for sale.

That meant there was strong growth in agreed sales for a second successive month, and looking ahead, near term sales expectations remain positive.

But 12-month sales projections are still in negative territory, and anecdotal evidence suggests concerns over the broader economic climate continue to drive this subdued assessment.

The pandemic is expected to cause a lasting shift in the desirability of certain property characteristics, as 83 per cent of respondents anticipate demand increasing for homes with gardens over the next two years.

Some 79 per cent predict rising demand for those properties near green space, while 68 per cent foresee a rise in the desirability of properties with more private/less communal outside space.

Rics' regional property spokesman Samuel Dickey said: “This latest survey provides firm evidence of a strong uplift in activity in the local housing market, which should help support the wider economy, though less welcome for many is the pick-up in prices, which could intensify issues around affordability.

“The results also provide a further pointer to more substantive changes taking place in household behaviour in the wake of the pandemic. Increased demand for properties with gardens and near green spaces has if anything increased further.”

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, added: “It's been an uncertain few months for those wanting to own their own home or move. But we remain strongly committed to supporting people to buy, move or remortgage, and will continue to lend in a responsible way that enables people to do so and supports market activity.”

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