Belfast Telegraph

Sellers count the cost as house prices keep falling

By Helen Carson

The latest figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Ulster Bank for April show Northern Ireland house prices are still plummeting, with more turmoil predicted for the months ahead.

And while this is good news for house-hunters at a time when the market usually enjoys a seasonal high, sellers may be left disappointed with prices well below their expectations.

The report’s findings revealed 48% of local surveyors said that prices fell in the last three months up to April, with 10% saying they went up, and 42% seeing no change.

In terms of house sales, RICS members were more optimistic, with the majority saying more homes were selling versus those who felt transactions were down.

Tom McClelland, RICS Northern Ireland housing spokesman, said: “It is a mixed picture with indications that the market in Greater Belfast is in a better place than other parts of Northern Ireland. At the lower end of the market at least, there are also increasing signs that asking prices and buyers’ ability to borrow are more closely aligned.”

Meanwhile, Derek Wilson, head of lending products at Ulster Bank, said: “Borrowers have responded well to Ulster Bank’s ‘no arrangement’ fee offer, which runs until the end of this month. We have been encouraged by the level of interest and activity we have experienced in recent months.”

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph recently, Simon Brien of BTWCairns said that four properties listed on propertynews.com attracted thousands of hits online followed by 43 viewings for one house in Malone, with an offer over the asking price for another property, also in BT9.

Mr Brien said: “There is definitely a significantly more positive sentiment in the housing market, and it is notable in terms of the level of calls — which are over 700 a day — with regards to viewing levels, offers and agreed sales.

“There were a few recent south Belfast sales, which are resale properties rather than new build, which clearly demonstrate the confidence in the market at the moment, which is most encouraging in early spring.”

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