Belfast Telegraph

Peak house prices 'have gone for a generation' in Northern Ireland

By David Elliott

House prices in Northern Ireland continued to fall in November, according to the latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Housing Market Survey.

It said the eurozone crisis has impacted the local market and the peak prices witnessed in 2007 have "disappeared for a generation".

"The seemingly endless flow of bad news from the eurozone will have inevitably impacted on the market," RICS Northern Ireland spokesman Tom McClelland, said. "We are also now living in a different financial and job habitat."

Despite this, he said there is a pick-up in the market when it comes to transactions.

"There is strong evidence that where houses are priced correctly to reflect 2011 sentiment and the ability of buyers in the market to pay, sales are being achieved."

A total of 46% of surveyors said that prices were the same in November, 46% said prices had fallen and 9% said prices had risen. Meanwhile, most surveyors (83%) expect prices to remain unchanged in the next three months.

The number of transactions held steady with 33% of respondents saying the number of transactions reduced in the past three months, 33% saying they remained the same, and 33% saying that transactions increased.

Garry Best, head of Best Property Services in Newry, said: "Things in this neck of the woods are still positive in the sub-£120,000 category but above that there's still a bit of a decline."

He said activity in the under-£120,000 market was mainly due to investors and first-time buyers.

William Miscampbell, associate director from BTW Cairns, said November was a busy month.

"Traditionally we expect a drop-off in the number of sales towards the end of the year, however we found sales in November to be better than expected," he said. "Where purchasers feel they are getting value for money they are happy to buy."

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