Belfast Telegraph

Cold 'helped keep lid' on rents

Fears over falling house prices, job security and obtaining an affordable mortgage supported rent prices in Belfast last year, it has been claimed.

First-time buyers are continuing to delay entering the housing market in the hope of better times ahead, a report by Citylets online lettings site said.

The document said after the 7% increase in private rent prices recorded over the first nine months of 2010, prices fell by 4.6% over the last three months of the year, when plummeting temperatures dampened demand from renters.

Northern Ireland's private rented sector generates an estimated £822 million in rent receipts annually.

Average monthly rents in the Belfast and Greater Belfast area were steady last year, during the last quarter worth around £559 a month.

Citylets rental market analyst Dan Cookson said: "We've recorded significant rises in rent prices over much of 2010, though the last three months of the year were noticeably quiet, with few people interested in shopping around for a new place to live in sub-zero temperatures ahead of Christmas. This helped to keep a lid on prices, which overall remained strong."

Some areas of the market did see a significant rise in rent prices over the last three months of 2010, with one-bedroom properties commanding an average monthly rent of £504 - an increase of almost 13% on the year.

The average monthly price for two-bedroom properties, which account for most of the Belfast City and Greater Belfast rental market (42%), was up more than 2% year-on-year to £519 per month.

Mr Cookson said first-time buyers were still finding it difficult to make it on to the market.

"The pressure on young professional renters to come up with tens of thousands of pounds for a mortgage deposit at a time when everyone is worried about their jobs has forced many to delay their decision to buy and caused many to renew their leases," he added.


From Belfast Telegraph