The average house in Northern Ireland now costs around £10,000 more than it did one year ago, a new report suggests.
The latest house price index from Halifax indicates house prices in the north increased by 5.3% in the 12 months to January 2024, the fastest annual rate of any region in its UK-wide report.
It said residential properties in Northern Ireland cost on average £195,760 last month, which was £9,761 higher than January 2023.
The monthly report from Halifax is one of number of house price indices which track the property market in the north, using slightly different methodologies.
The official Northern Ireland house price index, produced by LPS and statistics body Nisra using HMRC sales data, put the average price of a house at £179,530 for the third quarter of 2023, which was 3.1% up on the second quarter and 2.1% up over the year.
The official data covering the fourth quarter of 2023 is due to be published on February 14.
The 2.5% UK-wide increase in the year to January 2024 was highest annual growth tracked by Halifax since January 2023.
Kim Kinnaird, director at Halifax mortgages, said: “The recent reduction of mortgage rates from lenders as competition picks up, alongside fading inflationary pressures and a still-resilient labour market, has contributed to increased confidence among buyers and sellers.
“This has resulted in a positive start to 2024′s housing market.
“However, while housing activity has increased over recent months, interest rates remain elevated compared to the historic lows seen in recent years and demand continues to exceed supply.”
Danske Bank revealed last week that around half (47%) of its mortgage customers opted for a two-year fixed mortgage product in 2023, compared to 27% in 2022.
Bank boss Vicky Davies said around 80% of all Danske’s mortgage customers now hold fixed rate mortgage products.
Kim Kinnaird said almost two-thirds of new buyers getting a foot on the ladder are now buying in joint names.
“Looking ahead, affordability challenges are likely to remain and further modest falls should not be ruled out, against a backdrop of broader uncertainty in the economic environment.”
Alice Haine, personal finance analyst at Bestinvest by Evelyn Partners, the wealth manager, said: “Interest rates have remained on pause at a 16-year high of 5.25% since August 2023 and, with inflation expected to retreat rapidly in the coming months, cuts are expected as soon as the summer.
“The improving outlook has resulted in better mortgage rates and affordability levels for first-time buyers and those looking to refinance.”