Business

Housing supply drought 'causing headache for prospective buyers'

A lack of housing stock is driving competition between prospective buyers, which is resulting in house prices being pushed higher
Gary McDonald Business Editor

SURVEYORS in Northern Ireland are bemoaning a drought of available properties, which they say is causing a headache for potential buyers.

Another month of declining new listings is frustrating the growing numbers of prospective buyers, according to respondents in the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) and Ulster Bank residential market survey.

Some 58 per cent of surveyors reported a fall in new buyer enquiries, but the balance for instructions to sell was in negative territory, suggesting demand remains much greater than supply.

And this lack of stock is driving competition between prospective buyers, which is resulting in house prices being pushed higher.

Just 11 per cent of agents in the north reported an increase in newly-agreed sales - significantly lower than earlier in the year.

This in turn is driving up prices - a trend likely to continue over the next three months, they anticipate.

Samuel Dickey, residential property spokesman for Rics in the north, says: “We're into the final month of 2021 now, but the story remains a similar one to earlier in the year with a lack of supply impacting on the ability of potential buyers to purchase a home or move house and continuing to push up prices.

“If anything, it is more acute now than before, and looking to 2022, it's hard to see this changing significantly, so constrained supply is likely to characterise the market next year too.”

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said: “This has been a relatively strong year for the housing market in Northern Ireland in terms of demand, which we've seen this reflected in our mortgage business.

“But with supply of homes to the market so constrained, this is impacting transaction levels and will do into the early part of 2022 at least.”

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