Belfast Telegraph

House prices in Belfast have dropped by £44,000 in 10 years

By Vicky Shaw

The average house price in Belfast has slumped by more than £40,000 in the last 10 years, a report has found.

By contrast, 19 of the UK's other main cities have seen property values increase in the decade since the financial crisis struck, analysis revealed.

Hometrack, which looked at the UK's 20 biggest cities, found that in Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford and London, average house prices increased by £100,000-plus between August 2008 and August 2018.

In London, average property values are approaching £200,000 higher than 10 years ago.

The average house price across the 20 major cities is now just over £75,000 higher than it was 10 years ago, standing at £254,347 in August.

But not everywhere has seen an increase. Almost a fifth (18%) of homes across the whole of the UK are still valued at less than they were 10 years earlier, showing the impact still felt on the market, according to property analysts Hometrack.

And in Belfast, house prices are more than £44,000 lower on average than they were in August 2008, Hometrack's analysis found. As of August this year the average stood at £131,458 - down £44,482 on a decade ago.

Some cities have recorded modest increases in average house prices over the decade - around £2,000 in Liverpool, £4,000 in Glasgow and Aberdeen, and £5,000 in Newcastle.

Richard Donnell, insight director at Hometrack, said: "The fact a fifth of UK homes are worth less than they were a decade ago shows just how long-lasting an impact the financial crisis had on both the national and regional housing markets.

"Many parts of the country, such as Northern Ireland, the north of England, Scotland and Wales, have had slow recoveries, especially compared to London, which bounced back within a couple of years of the crisis."

Those looking to get on the property ladder face toughened lending rules as well as higher house prices in many areas, although schemes such as Help to Buy have aimed to give people with smaller deposits a helping hand.

Rachel Springall, a spokeswoman for Moneyfacts.co.uk, said: "The financial crash sent shockwaves across the personal finance market and resulted in a tightening of lending criteria."

She continued: "Over the last decade, interest rates for mortgage customers have indeed improved, but the scars have been left for those who had to give up their homes for something more affordable.

"Still, based on the average two-year fixed mortgage rate, borrowers would be better off by over £5,000 a year (based on a £200,000 mortgage over 25 years) compared to a decade ago."

Ms Springall added: "Thankfully, the first-time buyer market has improved immensely when it comes to the choice borrowers have if they can only stump up a 5% deposit. There were only around 80 products available to borrowers with a 5% deposit 10 years ago, but these have swelled to over 300.

"Government lending initiatives and competition have fuelled the options for these borrowers, and support such as the Help to Buy scheme has made it quicker for borrowers to get onto the property ladder.

"At the same time though, it may still be a struggle for consumers to meet new eligibility criteria brought in through the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) which was designed to eliminate poor lending practices."

Belfast Telegraph

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