Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland house prices up 6% but lack of supply a problem

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland house prices have grown by nearly 6% in the last 12 months to reach an average of £125,000, according to the latest figures.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) said prices rose at the steepest rate in Londonderry and Strabane, up 11% to £108,364.

The slowest growth was in Fermanagh and Omagh, where prices inched up 1.6% to £111,137. Prices in Belfast rose by 5% to £118,692, and the cost of apartments increased by 11% year-on-year to an average of £103,906.

There was a contrast between the age of houses and their rate of price growth. The cost of new homes grew by nearly 14% year-on-year, while price growth for existing houses was just 3.7%.

Nisra - which includes cash sales and auction sales in its figures - said there was a 'standard average price' of £125,000 in the last quarter of 2016, up 5.7% on the year before.

Average prices were 44% below their 2007 peak of £225,000, before the housing market crash.

Between the third and fourth quarters of 2016, there was growth of 0.6% in average prices - which Ulster Bank economist Richard Ramsey said was half the rate of the previous three months.

He commented: "On an annual basis, the pace of house price growth eased from 5.9% in the third quarter of 2016 to 5.7% in the fourth quarter of 2016. The standardised price of a house in quarter four 2016 stood at £125,480, almost £100,000 or 44% below the corresponding figure in quarter three 2007."

Beth Robinson, a partner in estate agents Templeton Robinson, which has five branches across Belfast, Lisburn and Bangor, added: "These figures represent a strong finish to the year with an increase in prices when sales volumes were marginally down, reflecting an issue with supply.

"This solid performance against a backdrop of political uncertainty with the Brexit vote represents a wider consumer confidence in the market, with the apartment sector, which has significantly underperformed in recent years, showing real growth with a price increase of 11.5% over the past 12 months.

"This evident market assurance is a firm foundation for residential property sales in 2017."

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