House prices rise for fifth month
House prices in Northern Ireland have risen for a fifth month in succession, the latest snapshot of the market has indicated.
Almost half of surveyors (43%) questioned about sales in October reported that prices had gone up, according to the research.
With only 5% reporting falling prices, and the rest noting no change, the market survey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), in conjunction with Ulster Bank, recorded a net balance of 38% responding to the question about price changes over the month.
Following similar upward assessments in the June, July, August and September, this is the first time since before the property crash that there has been five successive months of above zero price balances.
Across the UK as a whole the signs of recovery are even more marked, with a net balance of 57% of respondents reporting price rises in the October survey. That figure represents an 11-year high.
With regard to the Northern Ireland data, RICS housing spokesman Tom McClelland said: "The evidence from a range of indicators is that the improved performance of the local economy has been sustained into the autumn, and this appears to be the case for the housing market as well.
"With prices down around 55% from their peak, this provides significantly improved affordability, despite stagnating wages.
"Historically low interest rates, which are unlikely to rise for the next 12 months, also continue to be a factor. Anecdotal evidence from a range of sources suggest that strong interest from buyers does not appear to be abating."
Derek Wilson, head of lending products at Ulster Bank, added: "A greater sense of realism is evident in property values, both on the part of sellers and buyers, which will act to encourage interest and activity."