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House prices rise by the smallest amount in UK

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Northern Ireland house prices have seen the smallest regional increase

Northern Ireland house prices have seen the smallest regional increase

Matt Cardy

Northern Ireland house prices have seen the smallest regional increase

Northern Ireland has seen the smallest regional increase in house prices in the UK since data began in 1977, according to analysis.

PricewaterhouseCoopers said the average house price in the province has risen in cash terms over the 35-year period from £13,322 to £109,562.

That was an increase of 665% - the smallest regional increase of any UK region. London reported the greatest percentage rise of 1,782% from £15,593 to £293,375.

Economist John Simpson said house prices in Northern Ireland had historically lagged behind other parts of the UK.

He added: "That trend was conspicuously broken when our house prices rose in the last five or six years but that is something we are now coming out of."

House prices in the province were now "where they should be" relative to incomes, Mr Simpson added.

The research, part of PwC's Jubilee economic series, shows that over Queen Elizabeth's reign so far, house prices and disposable incomes have risen consistently.

But the research suggests that there have been two distinct periods - before the early 1970s and after, when mortgage conditions became less strict.

PwC chief economist John Hawksworth said the data showed real house prices in the UK were much more volatile than incomes.

He said: "In the 1950s and 1960s disposable incomes grew more strongly than house prices, which rose at around 0.7% per annum in real terms compared to 2.5% average real income growth.

"But from 1970 onwards, when credit was progressively liberalised, house prices rose more strongly on average than incomes but also became much more volatile.

"A general lesson would be that the Bank of England needs a broader tool kit to address the credit bubbles that periodically appear in the housing and mortgage markets."

Belfast Telegraph