Belfast Telegraph

House prices up but north still bottom

There are signs of recovery in the housing market with a growth in demand between April and June this year.

House prices in north Belfast have risen slightly with the average house price £93,162, up from just over £90,000 in the first quarter.

The average price of terraced/townhouses has increased slightly to £66,982.

The overall average price for semi-detached houses is £104,184; detached houses £217,722 and apartments £82,187.

The latest University of Ulster Quarterly House Price Index produced in partnership with Bank of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, showed the number of transactions between April and June rose to 1062 compared to 925 across Northern Ireland in the first quarter of 2011.

According to the authors of the report Professor Alastair Adair, Professor Stanley McGreal and Dr David McIlhatton: “The findings of the current survey highlight evidence of higher demand levels in the Northern Ireland housing market with transaction volumes at their highest level since the end of 2007 as purchasers avail of the current affordability and value for money in the local market.”

They said: “The continuing growth in transactions is welcome news for the local market and while there is still some considerable distance to travel it is a positive pointer towards the first signs of recovery in the local market. The expectation is that as demand starts to return to the market that price levels will follow but with an inevitable time lag.”

The market varied considerably across Northern Ireland with lower declines and evidence of stability in some areas within Belfast and the Greater Belfast Metropolitan Area commuter belt.

Alan Bridle, UK Economist, Bank of Ireland UK, said: “The increased market activity of the last quarter at more affordable price points, partly driven by cash-buyers, is inevitably dragging the overall average price lower as a form of market clearing takes place.

“While the market still faces into significant headwinds in 2011, there is now more tangible evidence of “demand at the right price” which represents some improvement on the very difficult conditions of the last few years.”

The annual performance – comparing quarter two 2011 with the same quarter in 2010 – showed that detached houses fell by 23%; terraced/townhouses fell by 18% which represented an improved picture from the previous survey at 25.3%; detached bungalows fell by 16%; semi-detached bungalows fell by 11.8% and apartments fell by 11.8%. Semi-detached houses saw the lowest rate of annual decline down 8.2%.

South Belfast remained the strongest area, with an average house price of £217,631 while north Belfast had the lowest average.

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