Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland house price rise fastest in UK and upward trend 'to continue'

By John Mulgrew

House prices in Northern Ireland are continuing to rise faster than any other UK region and are predicted to increase further, according to the latest survey.

More than one in 10 surveyors said prices witnessed a rise in July, while almost half said they expected them to rise yet further in the next three months.

That's according to the latest Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank survey.

Almost 60% of those quizzed said the number of sales were also likely to go up in the next three months, with the increase being fuelled by new buyers in the market, which the survey said is creating a gap between supply and demand.

Samuel Dickey of RICS said: "Surveyors are reporting increases in both sales and prices and they expect the trend to continue into the three months ahead.

"Key to the strong price growth is the continued robust increase in new buyer enquiries.

"Almost inevitably, this is creating upward pressure on prices as new properties aren't currently coming onto the market at as strong a rate, creating a gap between supply and demand."

It's also looking positive for house prices throughout the course of the year, according to Ulster Bank chief economist Richard Ramsey.

"I think 2015 is going to be a period of house price growth," he said.

"Other surveys were showing that Northern Ireland is recording the fastest rates of growth of any UK region, but the caveat is that it is coming off a low point.

"In terms of the mortgage rates, for those who are able to get a mortgage, they will find the rates on offer have never been lower."

Meanwhile, there's also been a strong demand for mortgages, which are expected to pick up moving out of the summer, according to Derek Wilson, head of lending products at Ulster Bank.

"As we move out of the peak holiday season we are seeing strong mortgage demand, which we expect to pick up further as this month continues," he said.

"There is increasing momentum in the local housing market and we are committed to providing the finance to support it." Meanwhile, the supply of homes for sale right across the UK has fallen to a new record low, squeezing house prices higher.

The shortage of properties on the market worsened in July to its lowest levels since records started in 1978, with about 47 properties for sale per surveyor.

The study by RICS showed that all areas of the UK are projected to see sizeable house price gains over the next 12 months, with confidence most elevated in Northern Ireland and East Anglia.

Demand from buyers is rising at the fastest pace seen since February 2014, RICS said.

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