Fewer house sales reported in Northern Ireland during April, survey suggests

HOUSING professionals in Northern Ireland reported a drop in residential sales during April, a new survey suggests.

While recent data from HMRC showed activity picked up in the north’s housing market during March after a very quiet January and February, the latest residential market Survey from RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank, suggests things slowed again during April.

Although based on sentiment and the observations of property professionals, the survey can be an early indicator for the direction of the housing market.

The latest snapshot suggests fewer sales reported in April, but property surveyors still expect prices to continue rising over the next three months. RICS said property professionals here appeared more optimistic than their counterparts in Britain.

The last official Northern Ireland House Price Index, published in February this year, showed house prices in the north falling for the first time in three years.

The average residential property price during the final quarter of 2022 was £175,234, around 0.5 per cent down from the previous quarter.

However, that meant prices were still up around 10 per cent compared to a year earlier.

RICS residential spokesman in the north, Samuel Dickey said: “The results of the latest survey point to perhaps more stability in the market with prices rising at modest rates and interest from buyers and sellers improving.

“With both sales and prices expected to edge upwards over the next number of months, it appears that surveyors are also more optimistic about the short-term outlook than they have been, particularly when compared to counterparts elsewhere in the UK.” 

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said: “Despite a range of challenges for borrowers, the mortgage market continues to see good interest from a potential buyers and as we move further into the second quarter of the year, we would expect this to increase, particularly if more properties are coming onto the market to increase available options.”