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Brexit and Stormont logjam 'hitting property market' in Northern Ireland

Uncertainty over Brexit, the lack of an Assembly and poor pay rises in the public sector are behind stagnant property prices, a leading estate agent has said
Uncertainty over Brexit, the lack of an Assembly and poor pay rises in the public sector are behind stagnant property prices, a leading estate agent has said

By Lisa Smyth

Uncertainty over Brexit, the lack of an Assembly and poor pay rises in the public sector are behind stagnant property prices, a leading estate agent has said.

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Beth Robinson from Templeton Robinson said a decision over Brexit will restore confidence in the market and help to drive up prices, but she also stressed the need for MLAs to return to Stormont.

Ms Robinson was speaking after it emerged that annual house price growth continued to barely move in October, growing at less than 1% for the 11th month in a row.

The closely-followed Nationwide house price index found that the average price of a home is now £215,368, with growth of just 0.2% compared with September. On a year-on-year basis the growth was just 0.4%.

The building society said high employment and low borrowing costs are offsetting a bigger slowdown, with more than 95% of borrowers opting for fixed rate mortgages in recent quarters, around half of which have opted to fix for five years.

Ms Robinson said: "We're finding things as the report has stated and it is very much linked to Brexit. People are very much taking the position that they aren't going to move, that they are going to stand back and wait and see what happens.

"However, Northern Ireland has been through many different situations over the last 25 to 30 years and the reality is that when there is a decision made, really whatever that is, people will move on with their lives and the market will begin to move again.

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"The lack of a government at Stormont has also been a factor, it hasn't been easy for people in Northern Ireland for the last three years. For example, if you are working in the Civil Service, you haven't had a pay rise for three years, which results in people holding back on moving house.

"We need Stormont back up and running because the uncertainty is affecting confidence."

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