Average price of houses hits £135k
The average house price in Northern Ireland hit almost £135,000 in the first quarter of this year, a new survey has found.
It also said annual residential property prices rose by 1.3% over the past year.
Sales also continued to increase, with 1,805 transactions during the first three months of 2014 compared with 1,407 in the same quarter in 2013.
The first report on the housing market for 2014 is evidence of "the continued improvement" across Northern Ireland, its authors said. They added: "The picture is one of a gradual recovery in a sustainable fashion, with increasing transaction volumes now being followed by general price rises, although there are still variations across different housing types and areas."
According to the figures, the average house price in Northern Ireland for the first three months of 2014 was £134,720 compared to £132,922 in the final quarter of 2013.
When variations in the sample are allowed for, this represented a quarterly increase of 0.8%, and a rise of 1.3% over the year.
The report, which is produced by the University of Ulster in partnership with Bank of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, is based on market evidence from a sample of 1,805 properties.
It said the price structure of the local market continued to be highly affordable because it was relatively low-priced and offered potential value for money for those buying properties. Nearly three-quarters of homes sold in the first quarter were at or below £150,000.
Alan Bridle, economist at Bank of Ireland UK, said there was continued momentum in both mortgage activity and transactions, with loans for house purchase in the last 12 months at their highest since 2007 peaks.
The Housing Executive's Joe Frey said the data was further confirmation of a "gentle recovery" in the local market.
"The newly developed private rental index for Northern Ireland as a whole will help focus attention on the purchase of rental properties, which are becoming an increasingly important factor in determining future house price levels overall," he said.
Compared with a year before, most property types showed an increase in their average sale prices. The strongest increase was in detached homes (4.4%), followed by terraced/townhouses (1.5%), detached bungalows (1.5%) and semi-detached bungalows (1%).
Average house prices:
Northern Ireland: £134,720
Belfast (all): £143,678
North Belfast: £97,720
South Belfast: £186,502
East Belfast: £146,723;
West Belfast: £110,640
North Down: £176,021
East Antrim: £112,865
Antrim Ballymena: £107,256
Coleraine/Limavady/North Coast: £123,152
Enniskillen/Fermanagh/S Tyrone: £90,944
Mid Ulster: £105,349
Mid and South Down: £120,611