Belfast Telegraph

House prices up 5.4% in year... but they're still half of peak value

By Claire McNeilly

Property in Northern Ireland remains around half of its 2007 value, despite a 5.4% price hike over the last year, a new survey has found.

Nationwide, the building society, also claimed that the local market recorded the second weakest annual growth across all UK regions.

Despite that, the data – which puts average house prices here at almost £115,000 – shows that the local housing market is slowly improving.

The survey also suggests a modest increase in house sales and prices which corroborates the findings of a number of reports published recently.

Other experts have expressed different views regarding house prices, with averages ranging from just under £99,000 to £135,000.

Raymond Mulligan, director of Johnston Campbell, Northern Ireland's biggest independent financial advisors, said geography was a main factor. "Local house price surveys suggest that the average price of a house in Northern Ireland is between £133,000 and £135,000 and our anecdotal experience in the market would support these figures though, of course, there are regional variations," Mr Mulligan said.

"At the high-end of the market Belfast is the only winner and house transaction activity is patchy across Northern Ireland with less happening west of the River Bann.

"We have generally an improving picture but there's a long way to go before one could describe it as having recovered." The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey recently said average house prices went up in February for a ninth consecutive month.

Data from February's NI Residential Property Price Index – the most comprehensive survey on the local market – reported a 4% annual hike in house prices – representing the biggest growth rate since 2007. It added that price growth stalled between September and December and said it found that the average price is now just under £99,000.

The study found huge variations across property types, with the average detached price at £154,609, semis at £98,643, terraces at £66,034 and apartments at £82,081.

It also said the number of sales has continued to increase, with just over 4,800 recorded in the last three months of 2013.

FACTFILE

  • NI RPPI and standardised price by Area (Quarter 4 2013)

Belfast £194,220; Outer Belfast £110,437; East of NI £96.191; North of NI £94,202; West & South of NI £94,533. All of NI £98,975.

  • Explanation: The NI Residential Property Price Index shows the standardised price for each regional area in Northern Ireland at Quarter 4 2013. Two of the five areas showed an increase in prices (Belfast and Outer Belfast).

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