Northern Ireland house prices jump 6.5% as UK average reaches high
House prices in Northern Ireland increased by 6.5% over the course of year, outpacing the overall UK average.
But although average prices are now up to £128,500, according to the latest Nationwide Building Society index, they are still 44% below their pre-crisis peak.
Across the UK as a whole, house prices have ended the year at another record high, reaching £196,999 on average across the UK in December.
Nationwide said the gap between average house prices in the north of England and those in the south has also widened by £23,000 during 2015, as southern regions have continued to out-perform the rest of the country. Across the whole of the UK, property values increased by 4.5% over the year to December, accelerating from annual growth of 3.7% recorded in November. December also saw prices increase by 0.8% month-on-month.
And all regions across the UK apart from Scotland have seen house prices increase over the last year. Prices in Scotland recorded a 1.9% decrease, taking the average house price there to £139,801.
For the fifth year running, London saw the strongest price growth, with a 12.2% annual increase in 2015 taking the average property value to £456,229.
Looking ahead to next year, the UK could be in for a "modest acceleration in house price growth", according to Nationwide's chief economist Robert Gardner.
"After moderating during the first six months of 2015, house price growth remained in a narrow range between 3% and 4.5% in the second half of the year," he said.
"This is broadly in line with earnings growth and close to the pace we would expect to prevail over the longer term.
"However, as we look ahead to 2016, the risks are skewed towards a modest acceleration in house price growth, at least at the national level, despite the likelihood of interest rate increases from the middle of next year."