Belfast house affordability set to push prices up by 4% in 2020
Belfast has been named as one of the most affordable cities in the UK in which to buy a house according to new research which predicts that prices will rise here in 2020.
Trend and statistics firm Zoopla's UK Cities House Price Index for November said that while last month saw Belfast experience an average but record house price growth of 3.6%, the 10-year annual average growth sat at -0.3%, well below the UK average of 4.4%.
It said that with current affordability levels here, and the average house price sitting at £138,000, Belfast was expected to register growth of up to 4% in 2020 as a result.
Over the last 10 years house prices in Belfast have increased by £4,900. Elsewhere in the UK that figure is £90,000.
Average London house prices increased by £204,400 since 2009 (+74%) putting Belfast in a "virtually unchanged position".
Zoopla said growth around the UK was mainly driven by strong growth in London.
It attributed Belfast's lack of growth over the past decade to a slower recovery post recession, with six consecutive years of house price falls between 2007 and 2013.
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Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Zoopla, said he expected UK house prices to rise overall by 3% next year with Belfast ahead of the average.
He added: "In the wake of the election result, much has been made of the likely impact on the housing market and wider economy. The election result provides an element of certainty for households looking ahead to 2020, but the result changes very little in terms of housing market fundamentals.
"While we expect some pent-up demand to return to the market in 2020 Q1, the affordability of housing across the country will dictate the level to which prices will increase in 2020.
"Lower mortgage rates have already been reflected in higher house prices, which means house prices are set to rise at a lower rate in future - more in line with average earnings. We expect UK city house prices to increase by 3% over 2020.
"That said, the most affordable regional cities still have some headroom for growth, and we expect them to register price growth of up to 4%."
Mr Donnell advised the Government to "remove barriers to households moving home" to further encourage growth next year.
The report added: "For estate agents, developers and businesses operating in housing, sales volumes are more important than house price growth.
"At a national level, housing sales have drifted lower over the last three years but remain just over one million a year. We expect housing sales to remain at one million over 2020."