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Northern Ireland developer has foundations down in new multi-million deal to build over 30 homes

By Margaret Canning

Major Northern Ireland house-builder Hagan Homes has announced plans for a £4.5m development of 35 new properties outside Belfast.

Managing Director Jamesy Hagan said building work on the 2.3 acre Willow Park site in Dunmurry had already started and would take up to 18 months.

Around 50 construction workers from Eden Contractors are already employed on the site, off Willow Gardens.

The homes range from two-bed apartments, starting at £90,000, to three-bed detached homes at £140,000.

Phase one of the development is scheduled to be finished by the summer, while the remainder of the homes will be finished by summer of next year.

Mr Hagan said today: "We are delighted to announce our plans for the new Willow Park development in Dunmurry.

"It is a clear indication of Hagan Homes' confidence in the local market, and a further sign of rejuvenation in the construction sector."

The announcement by Hagan Homes - which is based in Ballyclare, Co Antrim - comes after the National House Building Council figures for 2016 showed there were 3,280 new homes registered in the province in 2016 - an increase of just 1.7% on the year before.

The 2016 performance contrasts with a jump of 33% in the number of new homes registered in 2015 compared to 2014.

Mr Hagan said: "The figures show that it is still a very challenging market.

"I believe the figures have levelled due to ongoing issues around planning and issues with NI Water bonds which are stalling new-build starts."

But NI Water said bonds, which relate to the use of sewer infrastructure for housing developments, were in place to protect buyers.

The bonds are payable by developers of new housing and can be used at the discretion of NI Water if it believes the developer is failing to fulfil their obligations under the agreement.

Meanwhile, Kirk Bryson & Co Ltd - which includes Belfast multi-millionaire and KFC tycoon Michael Herbert as a director - is planning three luxury housing developments in Belfast.

It is turning a vacant site in the popular Upper Newtownards Road area of east Belfast into a 53-home development called Rose Park.

It is also developing Parklands, an apartment development based at Knocknagoney in Belfast. It will feature 104 apartments, including 18 one-bedroom flats along with 83 two-bedrooms and three with three bedrooms.

The Rose Park housing development close to the Stormont estate will include 53 homes, consisting of a mixture of four-bedroom detached, four and three-bedroom semi-detached and townhouses, along with two-bedroom apartments.

The firm is also proposing a 19-home development at a former Lidl store site on the the Antrim Road, north Belfast. Last week, industry body the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) warned that a lack of houses coming onto the market is the biggest challenge facing the sector.

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