Belfast Telegraph

Latest research shows healthy outlook for Northern Ireland housing market

By Emma Deighan

House price growth here remains strong in comparison to other parts of the UK, according to new research today.

And the readings from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey also showed that new buyer enquiries picked up after two consecutive months of falls.

Of all UK regions, Northern Ireland was the location where the greatest number of surveyors said house prices rose in the past three months than those who said they fell.

The report also said that estate agents were foreseeing that prices and house sales would go up over the next few months.

There were 23% more surveyors expecting prices to go up over the next 12 months, while the balance of those surveyed who said they expected a change in sales was similar to the previous month at +24% (+25%).

The findings were released shortly after Ulster University's latest quarterly house price index report.

It showed a steady rate of house price increase of 4% annually and 3.1% over the last quarter, bringing the average house price here to £163,621.

This is a significant jump from the last figures published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) which put the average house price in Northern Ireland at £130,484 in quarter four, 2017.

However, the ONS statistics cover cash and auction sales.

Samuel Dickey, RICS residential property spokesman, said results from the residential market survey painted a positive picture of the market: "It's encouraging that new buyer enquiries rose again after seeing falls for two months in February and March.

"Anecdotally, the new homes market is performing well with strong levels of activity and as we approach summer, resales activity should pick up, although lack of stock remains a concern in some areas.

"Looking ahead, surveyors expect to see increases in prices and sales, so the outlook remains positive despite some uncertainty around the economic and political environments."

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said: "As we move into the second quarter of the year, surveyors remain optimistic that the relatively positive start to 2018 will be maintained; albeit that the lack of supply clearly remains a challenge.

"Our own experience is that owning a home remains an aspiration for many people, resulting in strong mortgage demand, and Ulster Bank is committed to helping people take steps into home-ownership, to move home, and to remortgage."

And speaking as the UU released its house price survey this week, Professor Stanley McGreal said: "These rates of growth, above the general level of inflations, can provide confidence to both home owners and potential purchasers regarding the value of their investments while still maintaining affordability in the local housing market."

According to the UU, semi-detached houses continue to dominate.

Belfast Telegraph

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