Latest survey finds high confidence in Northern Ireland housing market
Confidence in Northern Ireland's housing market remains higher than elsewhere in the UK, according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey.
Almost two-thirds of those surveyed for the July study said they expect to see an increase in the number of houses sold over the next three months, while almost 60% expect a rise in activity over the year ahead - the highest rise in the UK.
The results are in contrast with other regions in the UK, particularly London, where sales expectations are in negative territory regarding the next 12 months.
Northern Ireland house prices have also continued to move upwards, according to respondents, with a majority of surveyors saying that they had seen a rise in the past three months.
It represented the highest price balance in the UK and the highest recorded here in almost three years.
Northern Ireland surveyors also remain positive about the outlook for prices in the coming months with around one-in-three (36%) saying they expect a rise in the next quarter and 77% saying they expect house prices to be higher this time next year.
Supply in the market though remains an issue according to the survey. July's respondents pointed to a small drop in new instructions to sell (down 4%).
The housing survey also revealed a rise in inquiries from new buyers and newly agreed sales.
One-in-four surveyors (25%) said that they had seen more newly agreed sales compared with last month.
RICS residential property spokesman Samuel Dickey said: "Unlike in other parts of the UK, surveyors in Northern Ireland are seeing prices rising and are remaining confident about the outlook.
"With houses in Northern Ireland more affordable than elsewhere, people continue to want to buy their own home. The main challenge though is that there are not enough properties to meet the demand."
Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said the lender is continuing to see strong demand from first-time buyers as well from those seeking to remortgage and from people moving home.
"It's clear Northern Ireland's housing market continues to display more positive sentiment than the UK average," he said.
"Despite the increase in interest rates, mortgage rates remain at low levels historically and we anticipate good demand through the remainder of the year."