Business

Agreed house sales continue to rise in Northern Ireland says Rics

Agreed sales continued to rise in Northern Ireland in November according to the latest Rics survey
Gary McDonald Business Editor

PROPERTY professionals in the north report that they are doing brisk business in the run-up to Christmas, but there are concerns that a sharp slowdown in sales could be around the corner in spring 2021.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), in its latest residential market survey in association with Ulster Bank, said agreed house sales continued to increase last month as buyers looked to beat a stamp duty holiday deadline next March.

A net balance of 55 per cent of surveyors - one of the highest in any UK region - told Rics they experienced an increase rather than a decrease in new buyer inquiries last month (up from 42 per cent in October).

New buyer enquiries also increased in the month, with a net balance of 49 per cent of Northern Ireland respondents reporting an uplift (it was just 32 per cent in October).

Rics' regional spokesman Samuel Dickey said: “It's been a particularly busy quarter for the housing market here, and as we head into the Christmas period it will no doubt be quieter.

“But we would expect activity to pick up again early in the new year as buyers seek to get in ahead of the stamp duty change.

“Beyond that, much will depend on the labour market, government support for the economy, and lending conditions.

“And positive developments with the Covid vaccine do though give hope that life will get back to a greater degree of normality later in 2021, so the outlook for the economy should improve.”

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, added: “November was again busy for mortgage activity, with good demand from the full spectrum of borrowers.”

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