House prices fall set to continue
House prices in Northern Ireland are falling and will continue to drop in the months ahead, a new survey has found.
The latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Housing Market Survey noted some improvement in activity in March.
Industry experts said volumes of transactions were "firmly in positive territory", while there were also increases in inquiries.
But the report said the balance of surveyors still reported falling prices, which most expect to continue to drop in the coming months.
RICS Northern Ireland housing spokesman Tom McClelland said: "The dramatic improvements in affordability in the Northern Ireland housing market since 2007 have been highlighted by a range of surveys.
"With prices at the lower end of the market now so much more affordable and increasingly stabilising, there is evidence that if first-time buyers have a deposit, there is enthusiasm to buy.
"That said, with wider economic conditions still challenging, we don't expect to see any major shift in the market, with seasonality likely to remain the biggest influence on activity for the foreseeable."
Derek Wilson, head of lending products at Ulster Bank, said: "2011 saw a third consecutive year of increasing first-time buyer mortgage completions in Northern Ireland, and Ulster Bank has experienced further increases in first-time buyer interest since the beginning of 2012.
"Encouragingly, we are also currently seeing rising demand from other mortgage borrowers, including remortgagers and home movers, who have been responding to our current campaign which offers competitive rates and no arrangement fees for a period."