Belfast Telegraph

House prices 'set to fall further'

The Northern Ireland house price peak of 2007 is unlikely to return for a generation, a survey of experts has warned.

Economic uncertainty is holding the market back from any meaningful recovery, according to the latest study by chartered surveyors.

Prices are continuing to fall and many expect the drop to continue for the next three months.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Northern Ireland spokesman Tom McClelland said: "The price peaks of 2007 have disappeared and are unlikely to return for a generation."

The European financial turmoil, austerity measures and rising inflation have reduced the amount of money available to people in Northern Ireland and shaken confidence while it has been difficult to secure mortgages.

A third of surveyors said the number of house transactions had reduced in the past three months, a third said the number remained the same and a third said it had increased.

A total of 42% of those asked expected transaction volumes to be down in the next three months, half expecting it to remain the same and the rest forecasting them to rise. A total of 91% of surveyors asked said prices were either down or the same.

Mr McClelland added: "The seemingly endless flow of bad news from the eurozone will have inevitably impacted on the market. We are also now living in a different financial and job habitat. But there is strong evidence that where houses are priced correctly to reflect 2011 sentiment and the ability of buyers in the market to pay, sales are being achieved."

The construction sector across Ireland is in depression as the bursting of a house price bubble continues to take a heavy toll. According to a recent study, the construction industry in Northern Ireland is still shedding jobs.

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