Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Cautious home buying 'the new norm'

An estate agent warned cautious house buying is the new norm in Northern Ireland

Cautious house buying is the new norm as prices fall further in Northern Ireland, an estate agent warned.

The eurozone crisis has left prices under pressure but there was a modest improvement in the number of sales, a survey of chartered surveyors disclosed.

According to the Office for National Statistics, prices have continued to plunge in Northern Ireland, down 8.1% over the year. In April Northern Ireland's average house price was £129,000.

Estate agent Tom McClelland said: "Aside from seasonal fluctuations, we saw a familiar pattern in the first half of the year, with prices coming under pressure and modest improvements in terms of sales activity. Macro-economic conditions, most notably the eurozone crisis, are having a significant bearing on sentiment, and this will likely continue to be the case in the months ahead.

"Price pressure and cautious buyers are the new normal."

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said prices had fallen but the number of transactions increased during last month.

Another estate agent, Robert Gourley from Derry, said houses seemed to be shifting quicker.

"Prices vary in different areas but if you price them right then you sell them," he said.

"There is more availability of money, people have realised they have come to the bottom, people want to move on."

He said there had been some demand from first-time buyers as well as those further up the chain hoping to upgrade.

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