Business

Prices up eight per cent in busiest year for north's housing market since 2006

A new gold coast? An estate agent has claimed south Down's scenery and waterfront has driven demand for housing during the pandemic.

THE average price of a home in the north rose by 7.9 per cent to £159,151 in 2021, according to the official government measure.

The delayed Northern Ireland house price index revealed a significant slow-down in price growth toward the end of the year, with the average residential property just 0.1 per cent up between the third and fourth quarters of 2021.

The fourth quarter report from the Northern Ireland Research and Statistics Agency (NISRA) confirmed 2021 was the busiest year for the local housing market since 2006, with 29,769 residential properties sold.

That demand coupled with constraints on the supply of new housing has contributed to significant price inflation in some parts of the north.

Ulster Bank’s chief economist Richard Ramsey said prices in Causeway Coast and the Glens district were 18.2 per cent up on pre-pandemic levels, with Newry, Mourne and Down not far behind on 17 per cent.

Garrett O’Hare of Co Down estate agency Bradley NI said prices in the district were being driven by sea front properties.

“It is still, relatively speaking, one of the cheapest property markets in the whole of these islands,” he said.

“So buyers from elsewhere are finding that their money stretches much further, allowing them to acquire a seafront mansion in Rostrevor for example for the price of a three-bed semi-detached home in London.”

Lisburn and Castlereagh remains the most expensive district, with an average house price of £184,847. Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon was the lowest at £138,944.

With the Bank of England expected to raise interest rates to 0.75 per cent on Thursday, Richard Ramsey said the north’s residential market will face a more challenging year for price growth in 2022.

“Increased economic uncertainty and a savage cost-of-living crisis will impact on affordability for many would-be house buyers,” he said.

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