Belfast Telegraph

Brexit affecting housing market but gloom may prove short-lived

Samuel Dickey
Samuel Dickey
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Brexit is impacting confidence in the housing market here even though the province remains one of the few areas of the UK where prices are still rising, according to a report out today.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank research of attitudes among estate agents is the latest to pinpoint growing anxiety among property professionals about the impact of Brexit.

It's despite Northern Ireland reporting the highest price increases of any part of the UK during 2018, with the average increase by 5.5% to £136,699.

Samuel Dickey, RICS Northern Ireland residential spokesman, said that although Northern Ireland had maintained its position as the part of the UK with the most estate agents reporting house prices increases, there were signs of a slowdown.

New buyer queries had fallen for the second month in a row in January, and newly agreed sales were plateauing, after tumbling in December.

And respondents to the survey said their outlook for sales over the next three months was subdued.

However, respondents indicated they felt more optimistic about how the market would look in one year's time, suggesting that any impact from Brexit may be short-lived.

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Last week, a housing market survey by Ulster University reported that people were putting off house purchases.

And a commercial property survey has also reported that potential investors are also putting off major buying decisions until they know the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

Mr Dickey said: "Across the UK, Brexit is affecting surveyor confidence, and whilst sentiment in Northern Ireland has been stronger than other regions for some months, there is now some more caution evident in the market.

"However, whilst Northern Ireland surveyors suggest that sales activity may be lower in the three months ahead, they are much more positive when looking a year down the line, suggesting that they think any impact on the market from Brexit will be short-lived."

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said: "A lack of supply has characterised the Northern Ireland housing market in recent years, so a rise in new instructions is welcome and should provide more choice for buyers.

"Whilst it is perhaps not surprising that the wider environment is tempering sentiment amongst potential buyers at present, surveyors in Northern Ireland remain confident about the market in the mid-term."

Belfast Telegraph