House sales pick up during May with bidding in sought-after areas: report
Homes for sale in popular areas such as Ballyhackamore in east Belfast are sparking bidding activity as the housing market picks up, according to a survey.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' (RICS) report for May said estate agents in Northern Ireland expected sales activity to pick up because more properties are coming on to the market.
And the number of estate agents reporting a pick-up in instructions to sell in May was at the highest for four years, and the highest of all UK regions.
Expectations that prices will go up were also among the highest of the UK regions, according to the survey, which is carried out in association with Ulster Bank.
Samuel Dickey, RICS residential property spokesman, and a partner at estate agents Simon Brien, said: "Supply constraints have been the biggest concern in the Northern Ireland housing market during recent years, and that's not a situation likely to change dramatically in the near future.
"However, we are seeing evidence that more properties are becoming available for sale, and with buyer interest strong, this is translating into sales activity.
"There are, of course, regional variations, and there are some notable hotspots.
In east Belfast, for instance, there is very strong interest and competitive bidding for properties in areas such as Ballyhackamore, as demand continues to outstrip supply."
The 'village' of Ballyhackamore has become increasingly popular in recent years as a place to live.
It was number one in Northern Ireland in the Sunday Times' Best Places to Live earlier this year.
The separate house price index from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency for the first quarter of 2018 found a standardised house price in the province of £130,016 - up 4.2% year-on-year.
Prices ranged from £112,648 in Derry City and Strabane to £153,181 in Lisburn and Castlereagh.
The council area of North Down and Ards had the second highest standardised price at £150,131.
Terry Robb of Ulster Bank said: "As we move towards the end of the first half of the year, it is clear that our housing market remains relatively buoyant.
"Surveyors remain optimistic that the relatively positive start to 2018 will be maintained and that sales activity will increase."
Last month Simon Brien Residential announced the opening of a new office in east Belfast, capitalising on growth in the market in the area.