Belfast Telegraph

First house price rise in Northern Ireland since 2007

Prices across property types have increased for the first time since the beginning of the property collapse

By John Mulgrew

House prices in Northern Ireland across all property types have risen for the first time since the start of the property collapse six years ago, the latest official figures have shown.

The cost of a home rose by 2% in the last three months leading up to June this year.

Prices shot up over the second quarter across all property types, including detached, terraced and apartments.

It's the first time there has been a rise in prices over a quarter since mid-2007.

But given a fall in costs between July 2012 and March 2013, real prices fell by 3% over the year to the end of June.

Meanwhile, buying activity has increased, with the latest figures showing a 10% boost in sales over the same period in 2012.

The official index - which measures change in the price of residential property sold - uses stamp duty information on sales recorded by HMRC.

Ulster Bank's chief economist Richard Ramsey said the days of house price falls "are probably now behind us".

"It's yet another positive sign, and over the last number of years people have forgotten that prices can't fall forever," he said.

"What we are entering is a period of house price stabilisation.

"As far as the economy is concerned, it's a big improvement and should do more for consumer confidence and economic confidence."

"The house price falls are probably behind us now."

Finance Minister Simon Hamilton welcomed the latest figures which he said were "recognised for providing the most comprehensive picture of our local property market".

“The latest statistics include analysis of the three month period up to June 2013," he said.

"The report shows that between the first and second quarters of 2013 prices increased by 2%, although over the full year the report shows a decline of 3%.

"It is promising to note that this is the first quarter since 2007 that an increase has occurred and confirms the views of local commentators that the property market here is beginning to stabilise.

"Over the long term the Index shows that the local market has rebalanced with prices at pre 2005 levels."

Wednesday's latest housing data comes as a series of so-called 'business barometers' have pointed towards an upturn in the fortunes of the Northern Ireland economy.

The latest Ulster Bank Northern Purchase Manager's Index showed that July saw the first rise in staffing levels for six months thanks to the rise in orders - with the recent heatwave contributing to a boost in activity.

Meanwhile, unemployment levels have also fallen to below the UK average, based on the latest labour force survey while car prices have also risen in recent months.

The region has also witnessed a boost in the amount of inward investment - particular within the IT and technology industries - over the last few months, with hundreds of new jobs being created.


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