Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland house price growth outstrips rest of UK but new home numbers down

NHBC chief executive Steve Wood
NHBC chief executive Steve Wood
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

The number of new homes registered in Northern Ireland in the third quarter of the year was down by nearly 20% on the year before, latest figures have shown.

The National House Building Council (NHBC) said there were 968 new homes registered in the quarter, compared to 1,199 over the same period the year before and a fall of 19.3%.

The fall in new home registrations comes despite continued increases in house prices here.

According to Nationwide Building Society, prices here have grown over the past year despite grinding to a halt in the rest of the UK.

The average house price in Northern Ireland grew by 3.4%, growth far beyond what any other area of the UK has seen.

The average price paid for a house in Northern Ireland is now £144,053. Growth in the UK as a whole remained below 1% for the 10th month in a row, according to the index, which was published at the start of this month.

However, the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Northern Ireland Residential Market Survey published on October 10 said growth in sales was slowing down. But Sam Dickey, the RICS residential spokesman in Northern Ireland, said new builds remained a strong sector of the market. "The strongest area of our housing market is undoubtedly new homes," he said.

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UK-wide, the number of new homes being registered also slowed down in the third quarter.

There were 39,364 registrations - down by 9% compared with the same period a year earlier, the NHBC said. The NHBC is a warranty and insurance provider, covering around 80% of new homes built in the UK.

Builders register homes to be built in the coming weeks or months - so the figures are an indicator of the level of new housing supply in the pipeline.

The year-on-year fall in registrations was driven by home registrations in the private sector.

In the private sector, 27,916 homes were registered, 16% down on a year earlier.

The number of affordable homes being registered increased by 11% annually, with 11,448 registrations.

In the West Midlands, registrations jumped by 52% annually, which the NHBC said was boosted by plots registered in Birmingham for the 2022 Commonwealth Games athletes' village.

NHBC chief executive Steve Wood commented: "It is great to see the strength of the affordable and rental sectors whilst we would hope that the slowdown in private sector registrations is transient, and a function of short-term Brexit uncertainties.

"In any event, NHBC will continue to work with builders to raise standards and improve quality for home owners," he added.

Belfast Telegraph