HMRC figures show some signs of cooling in NI housing market

Aside from 2020, last month was the quietest August for the north's housing market since 2017.

THERE are some signs that home sales in the north are beginning to slow amid the cost of living crisis.

New figures released by HM Revenue and Customs show 2,480 residential properties were sold in Northern Ireland during August 2022.

While that marked a slight increase on the 2,270 from July, outside of the lockdown restrictions of the summer of 2020, it marked the slowest August since 2017.

Year-on-year, house sales in August were 11 per cent down on 2021.

HMRC's figures were published on Wednesday as The Times in London reported the UK Government is preparing to announce a cut in stamp duty on Friday.

The north's housing market was significantly boosted during 2020 and 2021 by the temporary stamp duty holiday introduced by the UK Government for England and Northern Ireland as part of its Covid recovery measures.

The final month of the stamp duty break saw a flurry of activity in Northern Ireland, with 3,970 homes sold during September 2021, which made it the busiest month for the housing market here since June 2007.

A potential cut to stamp duty could drive more sales. But constraints on supply means that could further accelerate house price inflation here.

The latest official figures released last month showed the average price of a home in the north has jumped by £30,000 since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Northern Ireland House Price Index for the second quarter of 2022 put the average house price for the April to June period at £169,063, the highest for 14 years and 5.3 times the annual gross full time salary.

Meanwhile, HMRC's data showed the north's commercial property sector performing at pre-Covid levels during August.

Some 250 non-residential deals were done last month. Although that left it among the quieter months of the year to date, the market during August 2022 was on par with sales during August 2019.