Ulster overtakes London for fastest rising house prices
Northern Ireland has overtaken London as the UK region with the fastest growing property prices after year-on-year prices rose by 8%, a survey has found.
The average property price in Northern Ireland hit £126,525 in the second quarter of 2015 - although it is still 45% lower than its 2007 peak, Nationwide Building Society said.
Northern Ireland has maintained its rate of growth in property prices while other regions have slowed.
In the year to June, UK house prices grew by 3.3% - the slowest rate in two years. Prices slipped slightly from the previous month - by 0.3%, with the average cost now £195,055.
London saw prices rise by 7.3% annually, while both Scotland and Wales saw prices fall by 1% and 0.8% respectively.
The rapid rise in Northern Ireland comes despite prices in Belfast falling by 3%, with only Sunderland seeing weaker growth.
The city has seen a big swing in prices after the first quarter of 2015 saw an 11% year-on-year increase. However, the second quarter saw a decline.
The average price in the city is now £171,847, which means it remains the most expensive region in Northern Ireland, according to the building society.
Nationwide said it did not have the details to explain why regional prices were rising and Belfast was falling. In May, data from Ulster University found house prices in south Belfast fell by almost 7% and in north Belfast prices fell 2% from the previous year. Both east and west Belfast saw prices rise.
The west of the province saw the biggest annual increase of any Northern Ireland region with an average price of £122,334, Nationwide said. However, prices are still the lowest in Northern Ireland and the average is still 2% lower than 10 years ago.
The average price in the south east is £152,433 - up 4% on the same period last year. The price in the north east is now £131,562, up 6%.
Paddy Turley, head of UPS's south Belfast branch, said: "The market is moving well. It's moving very well in those areas people want to live, with south Belfast being one.
"We are seeing bidding activity with house prices increasing in those areas that have had historic demand."
Mr Turley added people were looking to buy "a home for life", which has meant there was lack of "quality" housing stock.