Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland house prices lowest in UK

By Margaret Canning

Property values in Northern Ireland increased by 4.9% in the year to October - though the stratospheric growth elsewhere means the region still has the UK's lowest-price homes.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed Northern Ireland joined Scotland with the joint lowest rate of house price growth for the 12-month period.

England was storming ahead with house price inflation of 10.8%, followed by Wales at 5.7%.

Northern Ireland's average price increase for the year to October was more than half the rate of 10.9% in the year to September.

But an ONS statistician said the fluctuation could be down to Northern Ireland's small sample size.

The ONS data is drawn from mortgaged property purchases recorded by the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

Paddy Turley, an estate agent at Ulster Property Sales, which has around 12 branches in greater Belfast, said he expected further "steady" price increases.

But he said a lack of supply was holding back the market - particularly in sought-after areas such as south Belfast.

"People have expected an avalanche of properties coming onto the market, but that just isn't happening," said Mr Turley.

"If we put on 10 houses in the Malone area every month, we can be sure they will sell." Supply could grow if greater availability of banking finance made people feel more confident about moving, he said.

But Mr Turley added: "The idea of public sector cuts and job losses will also be in the back of people's minds."

Last month, the separate University of Ulster house price survey said the average price in the third quarter of the year was £141,173 - up 5.2%.

The residential property price index from Land and Property Services - part of the Department of Finance and Personnel - said average prices were up around 7% in the third quarter of 2014 compared to a year earlier, giving a standardised price of around £107,855.

Transactions were up by around 20% to more than 5,000, the index said.

Factfile

Rate of price increases in UK regions

England - 10.8% to average of £283,000

Wales - 5.7% to average of £172,000

Scotland - 4.9% to average of £194,000

Northern Ireland - 4.9% to average of £137,000

UK as a whole - 10.4% to £271,000

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