Belfast Telegraph

Confidence in Northern Ireland's property market returning

By David Elliott

Northern Ireland's property market has regained a little of its confidence over the last three months with most estate agents reporting an increase in prices, although the market is expected to hold steady in the month ahead, according an industry survey.

The latest Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and Ulster Bank Housing Market Survey showed its price balance – the number of estate agents reporting rising prices against the number reporting falling or steady prices – was the highest since July 2007.

It was also the first time in six years the survey reported three consecutive months of "positive price balance", while the number of houses changing hands was the highest in four years.

Looking ahead, the vast majority of estate agents, 93%, expect prices to remain the same up to the end of November.

John Minnis, director of John Minnis Estate Agents said the report rings with his experience.

"Month-on-month our transaction levels have been rising, with the public at large realising that they really can sell their home, whereas before their impression may have been that properties weren't selling or taking months and years," he said.

"People have now realised the market has changed, and changed for the better."

And he added sales are also up.

"Sales are performing very well indeed, we have found our property transactions up 33% on last year, obviously some areas are outperforming others, eg east and south Belfast as well as north Down are extremely strong," he said.

"In many incidences we are experiencing bidding situations taking values above asking price, we have sold properties off market, but in many incidences properties are selling within days and weeks rather than months and years."

RICS (NI) housing spokesman Tom McClelland said the path to recovery might not be smooth.

"Whether this sunny disposition can be sustained into the autumnal months remains to be seen. But we remain of the view that although there will inevitably be seasonal variations and bumps, the market remains on course for a general improvement over the year as a whole," he said.

Belfast Telegraph