Northern Ireland property agent has 'best month in a decade'
Belfast and North Down estate agency Simon Brien has taken on nine new staff after experiencing its busiest month in a decade.
The firm, which is led by Simon Brien, said it had sold 222 homes during September.
And so far this year the business has sold 1,200 homes with a value of £250m.
The company has now expanded to 52 staff across four offices after taking on two new partners and seven other recruits.
Its expansion comes as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced a 7.8% increase in house prices in Northern Ireland, to reach an average of around £123,000.
Mr Brien, who has worked in the industry for more than 30 years, said: "We have an exceptional professional team, which is continuing to grow, and with the confidence in the market and increase in new home sales, we've strengthened our management team who have a wealth of experience in every aspect of the residential property market in Northern Ireland."
He said that he believed confidence was returning to the market, helped by a growth in house building and low mortgage interest rates.
Prices have fallen by around 60% since the property market crashed in 2008 but have been recovering gradually since around 2012.
According to the National House Building Council, there were 954 new home registrations in the province between June and August - an increase of 17% on the same three months a year earlier.
Simon Brien Residential rebranded from commercial and residential agency BTW Shiells around two years ago.
The commercial side of the business is now part of Lambert Smith Hampton.