Property sales and prices both rise in March - but surveyors remain cautious

Surveyors in Northern Ireland remain cautious amid a rise in residential property sales
Surveyors in Northern Ireland remain cautious amid a rise in residential property sales

HOUSING market activity in Northern Ireland picked up in March, with surveyors reporting increases in new buyer demand and sales.

The latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) and Ulster Bank residential market survey showed that more than half of property professionals in the north saw newly agreed sales rise - better than the overall UK average.

But although sales activity appeared stronger, surveyors are not as optimistic looking forward, with a flat picture expected over the next three months.

Northern Ireland respondents continued to see prices edging upwards (33 per cent in March compared to 28 per cent in February and 19 per cent in the January).

On the issue of supply and demand, 10 per cent of surveyors reported a rise in new buyer enquiries while respondents indicate that new instructions fell flat in March, as they did in February.

Looking ahead, respondents in Northern Ireland are more positive about the 12-month outlook compared to their UK counterparts.

Samuel Dickey, Rics' Northern Ireland residential property spokesman, said: “The housing market here appeared to be relatively stronger in March when compared to previous recent months, with both sales and prices rising.

“But surveyors seem to still be cautious looking forward over the next number of months. That said, we're seeing sales expectations pointing to a more stable trend emerging further out.

“Comparatively, Northern Ireland respondents overall remain more confident about prices and activity over the course of the next year than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK.”