No vacancy signs go up in Belfast apartment land
Demand outstripping supply in central Belfast rental market
Demand is outstripping supply in the rental market in Belfast with many central apartment blocks fully occupied, it's been claimed.
Estate agents in the city said the market was buoyant, as analysis by Propertynews.com, Ulster University and the Housing Executive found there was "high demand" for private rental properties across Northern Ireland.
Out of 11,433 rental transactions in the Province over the first six months of this year, 42% were for terraced or townhouse properties, while 30% were apartments. Average monthly rent across the province was £553, up from £548 in the first half of 2014.
Overall, transactions were up 1% on the first six months of 2014 - but were down 5.1% on the second half of 2014, which UU said was a variation found in previous surveys.
And in Belfast, there were 5,196 properties let, up 3.1% on the first six months of 2014. Average rent in Belfast was £594, down 1% from £602 over 2014.
Jordana Stoney, of estate agents John Minnis, said demand was outstripping supply for rentals in Belfast.
"East Belfast is growing in popularity, particularly Ballyhackamore. And we are seeing buy-to-let investors, particularly in the bracket where they've bought properties for less than £100,000."
But economist John Simpson said the growth in the rental market could signal that many potential housebuyers were struggling to gather a deposit.
"Getting yourself onto the housing ladder requires a significant deposit," he said. "And if you manage to get a house without a significant deposit then I would worry that you would not be protected against house price volatility."
Estate agent Simon Brien said the sales market was also continuing to recover at all price levels.
"Normally increasing volumes of sales in the housing market would have a negative impact on the rental market but that is not happening. In fact, in many city centre apartment developments, including the Titanic Quarter Arc development. we are at 100% occupancy."
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