Northern Ireland house price rise is highest in UK despite drop in sales
Northern Ireland house prices experienced the strongest rise in the UK last month though sales and demand remain flat, according to research today.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank residential market survey showed that NI had the strongest pick up in prices across the first quarter of the year.
However, newly-agreed sales and new buyer enquiries eased, with the bad weather potentially a factor.
The number of surveyors saying that prices had risen here alongside new instructions to sell in the past three months was 48% higher than those who didn't share the same views, making it the highest in the UK.
The industry sentiments follow the most recent statistics from Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) which showed that house prices here were by up 17.6% in quarter four of 2017 compared to quarter one in 2015. The figures, which were released last month, showed that the average price of a house in the province was £130,482.
However, today's market survey shows that newly agreed sales fell into negative territory in March with -22% more surveyors saying that they had seen fewer newly agreed sales compared with last month. There was also a decrease in new buyer enquiries to -27%.
RICS residential property spokesman Samuel Dickey said that despite the drop in sales, there was hope in the sector.
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He said: "For the second month in a row the survey indicates that there has been a dip in new buyer enquiries, but this is likely, at least to some extent, to reflect the bad weather in March.
"That said, the economic and political environment is not short of uncertainty, which could be causing some people to pause regarding their homebuying intentions.
"But whilst sales expectations for the next three months are flat, price expectations remain positive, which indicates that surveyors think prices will continue to edge upwards.
"Looking ahead to the next 12 months, there is a reasonable amount of confidence among surveyors for an increase in sales and prices."