Northern Ireland house prices on the rise but growth still lags behind rest of UK
The cost of a home in Northern Ireland has risen by more than 4% in three months. The average cost of a house here has risen to £123,000, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for July. That's up from £118,000 in May, with figures remaining flat since June.
Across the UK, the average house price has climbed by £17,000 in a year, continuing a "strong" run of growth, according to an official report.
Esmond Birnie, chief economist at PwC in Northern Ireland, said the latest house price data shows prices grew by 4% in the year to July.
"That is a marked deceleration and the Northern Ireland rate of growth is half the UK average, albeit that is buoyed up by the south east of England," he said.
The typical property value was around £217,000 in July, marking an 8.3% year-on-year increase, the ONS said.
Property values have also increased by £1,000 compared with the previous month.
While the 8.3% rate of annual growth is a slowdown compared to a rate of 9.7% recorded in June, it continues "the strong growth seen since the end of 2013", the report said.
The average house price in England now stands at £233,000, while in Wales it is £145,000, and £144,000 in Scotland.
Across the regions of England, London continues to have highest average house price at £485,000, followed by the south east and the east of England, where house prices stand at £313,000 and £274,000 respectively.
The lowest average price continues to be in the north east, at £130,000.
The east of England recorded the strongest annual growth, with prices increasing by 13.2% in the year to July 2016.
Growth in London also remained high at 12.3%, the ONS said.
The UK house price index said that despite the strong growth, there have been signs that some of the heat has been taken out of the market, with several indicators pointing towards weaker housing demand and supply in recent months.
On the demand side, the volume of lending approvals for house purchases fell by 5.1% in July 2016 compared to the previous month, continuing a downward trend since the start of the year.
Recent reports have pointed to a recent stamp duty hike for buy-to-let investors as well as the EU referendum leading to a quieter housing market.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: "It is surprising that the index does not record more of a slowdown in price growth."