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Housing demand in NI remains much greater than supply and is impacting sales and prices, survey reveals


Samuel Dickey

Samuel Dickey

Samuel Dickey

Houses to buy are in short supply here, forcing prices upwards and giving prospective buyers headaches, a survey has said.

The latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) research revealed 58% of NI respondents reported a rise in new-buyer enquiries and said instructions to sell sat at -39%, the fifth time in a row a negative result has been reported.

The latter figure suggests demand remains much greater than supply and it’s impacting sales and prices.

Looking to the future of the housing market, RICS says the expectation is that prices will continue upwards over the next three months, with 38% agreeing. Seventeen per cent expect the number of sales to rise over the same timeframe.

Samuel Dickey, RICS Northern Ireland residential property spokesman, said: “We’re into the final month of 2021 now, but the story remains a similar one to earlier in the year, with a lack of supply impacting on the ability of potential buyers to purchase a home or move house and continuing to push up prices. If anything, it is more acute now than before. Looking to 2022, it is hard to see this changing significantly, so constrained supply is likely to characterise the market next year, too.”

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said: “2021 has been a relatively strong one for the housing market in Northern Ireland in terms of demand, and we have seen this reflected in our mortgage business. We have seen good demand from across the market, and particularly for products like our 95% mortgage which has been introduced to support first-time buyers. But with supply of homes to the market so constrained, this is impacting transaction levels and will do into the early part of 2022 at least.”

The figures are released after more research found the property market here in 2021 is set to be the most buoyant since before the recession.

According to property company, Zoopla, house prices here shot up by 10.7% in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the same time last year.

Zoopla said its House Price Index shows strong buyer demand because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has boosted the average value of homes in Northern Ireland to £159,109.

Statistics from Land Registry also confirm that the market is set to mark a milestone year when 2021 ends.

Its figures reveal the last time house prices rose in double-digit percentages was back in late 2007, when house prices jumped by just over 19% compared to the year prior.

After that, house price rises decreased, even reaching negative territory when prices dropped by almost 30%, at their lowest, in the first quarter of 2009.