House prices in Northern Ireland rise modestly for second month in a row
Northern Ireland's house prices have recorded their second consecutive rise in a UK-wide round-up.
The Office for National Statistics' house price index said prices in the province were up 1.1% in August compared to a year earlier.
That brought the average price in Northern Ireland to £130,000 -- still down around 50% on peak prices in summer 2007.
It follows a 1.8% increase in average prices here in the year to July 2013 in an earlier ONS survey, published in August.
And in the 12 months to June 2013, prices had dropped 0.4% in the province.
Despite two consecutive climbs, a statistician from ONS said it was hard to predict whether any complete recovery to 2007 prices would occur and at what pace.
In August 2007, the University of Ulster recorded an average house price of £240,408 -- the peak price recording in their survey of estate agents transactions.
Paddy Turley, an estate agent at Ulster Property Sales in south Belfast, said all its branches were busy. "If prices are up 1.1% in the ONS, then we are moving in the right direction."
But he added: "There won't be huge jumps and we won't be back to the unprecedented levels of 2007."
And instead of a panic to get on the housing ladder, he said would-be buyers were carefully considering factors such as number of bedrooms, their size, the modernity of a kitchen and the features of a garden, before deciding whether to shell out.
But he added: "I do like to think this gradual trend of price increases will continue if banks start to lend, as demand is high."
He also said the 1% increase recorded by the ONS may not be uniform, with a possible urban/country divide as well as contrasting performances across different property types.
The latest ONS survey said the average house price of £247,000 in the UK is now past its previous January 2008 peak following a 0.5% month-on-month jump -- though the ONS statistician said massive jumps in London and the south-east of England were responsible for the overall increase.
UK-wide prices were 3.8% higher year on year, according to the ONS yesterday, with England recording the strongest annual growth at 4.1%, followed by 1.1% in Northern Ireland and 1% in Wales, while Scotland saw prices fall by 0.7% over the year typically.
UK: £247,000 average price
Northern Ireland £130,000
North west: £166,000
Yorks & the Humber £167,000
East Midlands: £178,000
West Midlands: £188,000
South west: £230,000