Northern Ireland's 8% property price rise outperforms rest of UK
House prices in Northern Ireland have risen at the fastest rate in the UK, according to the Nationwide Building Society.
Values across the UK increased by 3.3% in the 12 months to June, marking the weakest annual growth since June 2013.
On a month-on-month basis, prices fell by 0.2%, reversing a 0.2% increase in May. The average UK house price is now £195,055.
Northern Ireland, where prices fell sharply in the wake of the economic downturn, overtook London to record the strongest growth on a regional basis, at 8%.
London came in second place, with a year-on-year increase of 7.3%, taking the average property price to £429,711.
Wales and Scotland were the only regions to see prices fall year-on-year, recording declines of 0.8% and 1% respectively.
Despite the acceleration of house price growth in Northern Ireland, average values there are still around 45% below their 2007 peak levels, Nationwide said. The average house price in Northern Ireland is £126,525.
Looking at towns and cities across the UK, Nationwide said Reading was the best-performing place, with prices having surged by 13% over the last year.
This was followed by Oxford, where values recorded a 12% increase. Coventry, Brighton and Bristol rounded out the top five "best performing" places, all recording growth of 10%.
Looking at the towns and cities which have seen the weakest growth, Sunderland topped the list with a 4% annual fall, followed by Belfast, where prices fell by 3%, and Nottingham, down 2%. Plymouth and Glasgow were also on the worst-performing list, recording a 0% annual change.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said that while house price growth is continuing to out-pace earnings, the gap is closing.
This has been helped by a pick-up in annual wage growth, which moved up to 2.7% in the three months to April, from 1.9% at the start of the year, he said.
A year ago, house prices across the UK were surging at an annual rate of 11.8%, compared with 3.3% now.
Mr Gardner said: "The slowdown in house price growth is not confined to, nor does it appear to be driven primarily by, developments in London.
"Eleven of the 13 UK regions saw a slowdown in the annual rate of growth in (the second quarter of 2015).
"Most parts of the country continued to see annual house price gains - the exceptions were Wales and Scotland, which recorded small declines."
The average house price across Scotland is now £140,512 and the typical value across Wales is £144,701.
Mr Gardner said that with the supply of homes available generally still tight, looking ahead, the stock is likely to be used increasingly intensively until building activity catches up.
He said: "There are signs that this has been occurring, with the number of vacant properties trending down since 2008."
Matthew Pointon, a property economist at Capital Economics, said the dip in prices in June is "not a sign of a cooling market".
He predicted that annual price increases will pick up, and that prices at the end of this year will be 6% higher than they were at the start.
Mr Pointon said: "For the country as a whole, the conditions are in place for a period of firmer house price gains.
"Active housing demand has finally started to pick up, as record low mortgage rates tempt more people into the market."
Belfast Telegraph Digital