Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland house sales rise 'at fastest rate' since 2014

By Staff Reporter

House sales activity in Northern Ireland rose last month at the fastest rate in over two years, according to a survey today. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) research said last month saw the most widespread increase in sales since August 2014.

Its previous research had reported a fall in activity in May following changes to stamp duty for second homes, and further slumps in the aftermath of the vote to leave the EU.

But activity since September had been picking up steadily before November's two-year peak, and prices also edged upwards.

There was also a slight increase in properties coming onto the market in November.

However, property professionals responding to the RICS survey indicated that their expectations for price and sales growth were not strong.

And the Northern Ireland market was generally constrained by a lack of supply, RICS added.

Samuel Dickey, RICS residential property spokesman, said: "A key issue for the housing market has been the impact on transaction activity since the spring."

He added: "But there are signs that the numbers have been edging upwards in recent months, particularly in November, and may continue to do so into the new year.

"However, the combination of macro uncertainty, the on-going supply shortfall - albeit there was a rise in instructions in November - and the myriad of tax changes impacting on buyers, suggest that any further pick-up in activity will be relatively modest in the short-term."

The separate Ulster University house price index last month said prices in Northern Ireland had risen by around 6% year-on-year to an average of just under £160,000.

Yesterday, the UK-wide Halifax index said property values increased by 6% annually in November.

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