Belfast Telegraph

House prices in Northern Ireland on the rise as demand outstripping supply

Divergence: Samuel Dickey
Divergence: Samuel Dickey
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

A lack of supply in the housing market is helping drive up prices here at a stronger rate than elsewhere in the UK.

A Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank report said prices were holding up despite wider economic uncertainty.

However, it said fears of a no-deal Brexit were persuading some would-be sellers not to take the plunge.

RICS said the number of agreed sales had fallen in August, but that the number of surveyors reporting rising prices over the last three months was higher than anywhere else in the UK.

The main reason was lack of supply.

Surveyors and estate agents expected prices would keep going up over the next quarter - though in smaller numbers than before.

And they also expected sales activity over the next few months to fall, but in a year's time prices would still be going up and sales activity would also have recovered.

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RICS' Samuel Dickey said: "While the figures reflect the overall picture in Northern Ireland, we continue to find divergence at local levels and when considering different types of properties.

"Re-sales activity has fallen back but the new homes market is buoyant, with more developments incoming through the rest of the year.

"First-time buyers continue to express strong interest in buying even against the current political landscape and as such the housing market overall continues to outperform the rest of the UK."

Terry Robb of Ulster Bank said factors had pointed to a slowdown. The Government house price index last month reported a drop to 0.8% in the rate of house price increase between the first and second quarter of the year to £136,767.

But he said the market here continued to perform well compared to other regions. "The fact that demand continues to outstrip supply locally is supporting prices and this is likely to continue to be the case," he added.

Thomas O'Doherty of estate agency Simon Brien, which has branches in Belfast, Holywood and Newtownards, said it has had a very busy summer.

But he said more stock would be welcome. "You would like more stock as everything we bring to market that's presented and priced well is selling very quickly.

"People are bidding on properties. For example, we have had bidding on a city centre apartment which started at £185,000 and has now reached £200,000."

Belfast Telegraph