Belfast Telegraph

4.8% Northern Ireland house price rise contradicts verdict of Bank of England governor Mark Carney

By Claire McNeilly

New figures have revealed that Northern Ireland house prices saw a significant rise – just days after Bank of England governor Mark Carney branded our property market as stagnant.

House prices here rose by 4.8% last year – and now stand at an average of £135,000, official figures show.

The strong price falls seen in the local property market after the economic downturn have been followed by a surge in values across 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The new data directly contrasts with Mr Carney's assessment of our housing market as he recently said Northern Ireland was the only region of the UK where house prices were not recovering.

It also appears to back up Stormont Finance Minister Simon Hamilton's view that last year saw "significant rises, both in house prices and sales".

Mr Hamilton told the Belfast Telegraph that he believed Mr Carney's comments – which he made three days ago – were "harsh", "unfair" and at odds with analysis carried out by the Executive's Department of Finance and Personnel.

The ONS said property values rose 5.5% across the UK in 2013 to reach £250k in December, with price growth "beginning to increase strongly across parts of the UK", with price rises in London remaining responsible for a "large part" of the upswing.

London saw a 12.3% increase in house prices in the year to December pushing prices to £450,000 typically, which is a fifth (20.3%) higher than their pre-financial crisis peak in the capital in 2008.

The ONS data showed that in England house prices rose 5.7% over the year to reach £260k on average. In both Northern Ireland and Wales they are up by 4.8% annually.

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