Belfast Telegraph

House prices are up, but only to levels of 10 years ago

By Claire Williamson

House prices here have risen 8.4%, although they're half the level they were at their peak.

All UK regions saw annual prices rises, with London continuing to lead with an annual growth of 26%.

The figures were released in the Nationwide Building Society House Price Index report.

Scotland was the weakest performing region, up 5.4% compared to 2013.

The report found that house prices in Northern Ireland were up 8.4% compared with the same second quarter in 2013.

With the average house price in Northern Ireland at £117,150, average prices remain around 50% below their 2007 peak.

Belfast remains the most expensive area and was the strongest performer over the past 12 months, recording a 14% increase.

The least expensive area is the west of Northern Ireland, which saw the smallest annual price change.

William Liddell, area director for Templeton and Robinson estate agents, said: "I would suggest that in parts of Belfast, the south, south east and east, we are probably back to about 2004/2005 prices.

"However, there would certainly be room for improvement and activity in other areas of Belfast, and along the periphery of Belfast.

"Demand is outweighing supply at the moment, hence prices appear to be moving up in some cases.

"If in the next six or 12 months more properties come on to the market because people see that the market is moving on, and supply starts to balance with demand, then possibly the price increases will slightly slow down, but that won't be a bad thing.

"Will we ever get back to 2007 prices? It will be a long time before we do, and we don't want it to be a situation where it's being driven by panic buying," Mr Liddell added.

Overall, UK house prices increased by 1% in June and were 11.8% higher than a year previously. Average UK prices have surpassed their 2007 peak and all regions saw annual price gains in the second quarter.

Nationwide's chief economist Robert Gardner said: "House prices recorded their fourteenth successive monthly increase in June, rising by 1%. As a result, the annual pace of price growth picked up to 11.8% from 11.1% the previous month.

"In seasonally adjusted terms, house prices reached their 2007 peak in quarter two, just as UK economic output is likely to have surpassed the high water mark reached before the financial crisis.

He added: "While all regions recorded annual price gains for the fourth quarter in a row, there is still significant variation across the UK."

Story so far

In the Nationwide Report in 2012, Belfast was ranked the worst performing city in the UK, with house prices down by 14% on the previous year. The Nationwide House Price Index figures indicated the average property price in Northern Ireland was £107,719.

Now, as a result of a period of steady increase, prices in Northern Ireland have risen 8.4%, with the average house changing hands for £117,150.

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