Belfast Telegraph

House price drop 'set to continue'

House prices will continue to fall in Northern Ireland over the next three months, but the number of sales are expected to grow, a new survey has predicted.

The latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank Housing Market Survey said the house price downturn will enter its sixth year in 2012. The downward trend began in 2007 and the survey found that the decline will extend into January, February and March of this year.

But the RICS found that surveyors quizzed on the sate of the market believe the number of sales of properties will increase. Experts advised that realistic pricing was key to securing a sale, while trends will also vary according to the property type and the location.

RICS Northern Ireland spokesman Tom McClelland said: "2012 is shaping up as an interesting year; will Germany pay to save the euro? And what will happen to Greece?

"These much larger events, along with local public spending cuts and the weight of bad debt still in the local system, will affect the housing market.

"That said, I expect the Northern Ireland housing market to continue to experience large variation, with some geographical areas and property types having significantly different experiences.

"I would also expect that those who price their houses in line with the realities of the market will continue to achieve sales. Recent auction results, for instance, show relatively low selling prices but relatively bullish activity."

Derek Wilson, Head of Lending Products at Ulster Bank, said the bank provided the majority of mortgages for Co-Ownership purchases.

"We also ran a number of campaigns to stimulate demand across the marketplace, including reducing rates and removing arrangement fees for a period," he said.

"As we enter 2012, we are once again actively promoting our range of mortgages and hope to further stimulate demand. This is evidence of our ongoing strong commitment to make competitive deals available to support mortgage demand."

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