Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland property market may take decade to recover

By Margaret Canning

The Northern Ireland property market may take another decade to recover, according to a property businessman.

Gary Martin of the Martin Group said the 'fundamentals' of the market need to change if there is to be an improvement.

The average price of a home in Northern Ireland has dropped from a high of £240,408 in August 2007 to £143,918 in the first quarter of this year.

Recent surveys have pointed to a rising number of transactions in the market - though surveyors and estate agents do not expect prices to go up in the short-term.

Mr Martin, who is from Londonderry, addressed a 'surviving and thriving' event organised by Warrenpoint company K-Point Internet Solutions, which developed the property management software RentPro.

"There will still be a prolonged period of low level activity for some time to come. I can't see there being any serious knocks to the current level, but in my opinion it could take up to 10 years to improve," he said.

"This may sound overly negative, but it's not just about having confidence in the market. Rather it is the fundamentals that need to be addressed - more jobs, more willingness to lend and a more flexible approach to doing business."

Mr Martin set up the Martin Group in 2004 with his brother Paul.

They operate from an office in the north west of England and Oxford Street, and have developed properties in the boroughs of Mayfair, Kensington and Knightsbridge. He added: "In London we find new and innovative ways of doing deals and it appears to be working. We are hungry for success and don't just rest on our laurels - rather we try the creative approach and often contact clients directly rather than waiting for them to come to us."

Other speakers at the event included Feargal McCormack, founder and managing partner of FPM chartered Accountants.

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