Belfast Telegraph

Fall in homes up for sale could lead to rise in prices

Divergence: Samuel Dickey of RICS
Divergence: Samuel Dickey of RICS
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland's housing market is showing resilience despite Brexit uncertainty but growth in sales is slowing down, according to a survey today.

The RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Northern Ireland Residential Market Survey for September said the housing market in Northern Ireland presented an increasingly mixed picture.

The survey said the number of newly agreed sales over the last month had recovered "to a slow increase" and numbers of new buyer inquiries were still growing. New-build homes also continued to perform well.

However, instructions to sell were continuing to fall, which RICS said left them "increasingly cautious" about the short-term outlook.

It added that lack of supply was believed to be leading to price increases, although the rate of growth had slowed down.

Surveyors and estate agents had told RICS that the market was showing resilience despite the uncertainty over Brexit - but they also said that political developments over the next few months are expected to have an impact.

RICS said that as a result "the 12-month outlook is uncertain, with surveyors predicting that prices will continue to rise, but based on last month's activity they are recording an expected drop in sales".

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Samuel Dickey, RICS residential property spokesman in Northern Ireland, said: "The strongest area of our housing market is undoubtedly new homes, which continue to perform well with strong levels of activity, particularly amongst first-time buyers as the wider instructions to sell are relatively low.

"The mixed results are reflective of the divergence we have across Northern Ireland, with some geographical areas experiencing more positivity than others and the resale market feeling the effects of cautious would-be-sellers."

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said first-time buyers were a key component of the housing market.

He added, however, that those thinking of making their first ascent on the property ladder should be aware that the Government's Help to Buy ISA expires at the end of November.

The separate house price index from Land & Property Services recorded an increase of 3.5% between the second quarter of 2018 and the second quarter of this year. That left a standardised house price for Northern Ireland of £136,767.

Belfast Telegraph