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Enquiries to buy homes in Northern Ireland rise to highest on record

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Rise in enquiries from would-be buyers on the hunt for a new home in Northern Ireland

Rise in enquiries from would-be buyers on the hunt for a new home in Northern Ireland

Rise in enquiries from would-be buyers on the hunt for a new home in Northern Ireland

Enquiries from people thinking about buying a new home in Northern Ireland were the highest on record last month, according to a study.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said all members questioned for the survey, carried out with Ulster Bank, reported an increase.

The growth may be explained by the extension of the stamp duty holiday announced early last month.

According to the report, more homes were sold in March than the month before.

That left surveyors optimistic for the future, with most expecting the number of houses sold to increase over the next quarter.

But even with more home being put on the market, anecdotally, there does not appear to be enough to meet demand.

Large numbers of surveyors also reported rising prices in March, with most expecting them to climb further in future.

RICS spokesman Samuel Dickey said: "The results from the latest survey suggest the decision by the Chancellor to extend the stamp duty break and then taper its expiry has had some impact on demand and activity.

"However, underlying demand was already strong, with people making up for lost ground from last year and many seeking to move for more space.

"The survey’s indicators suggest that demand will also remain strong in the months ahead. One of the concerns in the market, though, continues to be limited supply."

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, added: "March completed a strong quarter for mortgage demand.

"Despite the restrictions in place during the quarter, people have continued to apply for mortgages and move forward with home purchases and house moves. Of course, there are remortgages happening as well.

"Looking to the three months ahead, our pipeline suggests that mortgage activity will continue to be strong."

A separate survey published by the Nationwide Building Society last week reported that house prices had grown by 7.4% in the first quarter of the year to an average of £154,012.

The study also found the average UK house price was £232,134, a 5.7% increase on a year earlier.


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