Property boost as developer funds new housing scheme in Co Antrim
Housebuilding in Co Antrim has received a boost after a property developer ploughed £4m into a new scheme.
Cultra Developments is building 32 new homes in Ballyclare - and director James Patterson said the houses were already selling well.
The Riverhill Manor development is being funded by Ulster Bank and follows a long period dating back to the downturn in which builders have struggled to obtain bank finance for house building.
Mr Patterson said: "Riverhill Manor will include a mix of townhouses, semi-detached properties, and detached homes largely aimed at the first-time buyer market.
"We have seen strong demand for the first phase and anticipate that the second phase will be equally as popular," he said.
The company is also building five detached houses in North Road, Carrickfergus.
Kenton Hilman, head of corporate and institutional banking at Ulster Bank, said the investment would sustain jobs and provide housing.
He added: "Ulster Bank has £1.5bn to lend to businesses this year across a range of sectors, including residential development."
According to the latest figures from the National House Building Council, there were 839 new homes registered between May and July this year in Northern Ireland, compared to 567 in the same period last year - an increase of nearly 50%.
However, house builders have said that Northern Ireland new home figures are still lagging far behind the rest of the UK.
Housebuilder Conor Mulligan of Lagan Homes said last month that the figure for England showed 37,975 starts over the quarter for a population of 53m.
"This equates to 716 new houses per quarter per million people," he said.
"Northern Ireland's 839 for a population of 1.8m equates to 466 per million people - 65% of the rate in England."