Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland house price rise of 6% allays concerns over economy: survey

By Margaret Canning

A jump in house prices of nearly 6% to around £160,700 suggests that the economy is coping well under pressures including Brexit and the lack of an Executive, it was claimed today.

The Ulster University house price survey for July to September reported an average house price of £160,758 - up 1.9% over the year and up 5.8% on the quarter before.

South Belfast had the highest prices at just over £230,000, while north Belfast had the lowest prices in the province at around £110,430.

Terraced homes and town houses saw the biggest percentage growth year-on-year at 10.3%, to reach an average of around £108,140.

But the research - which does not include auction or cash sales - also found that first-time buyers were still relying on parental help to enable them to raise a deposit.

The first half of the year had brought only "sluggish" and variable rates of price growth, the research said, although there had been strong sales volumes.

But the university said the growth in price levels in the second quarter suggested a pick-up in the second half of the year.

Professor Stanley McGreal from Ulster University said: "The latest survey of the Northern Ireland market shows a healthy performance during the third quarter suggesting that concerns about uncertainty in the macro-economy, the potential impacts of Brexit and the lack of a functioning local Executive are having a diminishing effect on the private housing sector."

The survey is carried out with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Progressive Building Society.

Michael Boyd, Progressive deputy chief executive, said: "The underlying outlook is that we have a strong housing market in Northern Ireland with more affordability than other regions of the UK.

"This has been reinforced by the 5.8% increase in property prices over the quarter.

"The research has highlighted a more buoyant market than the last quarter, however there continues to be a variable picture regionally.

"In Belfast the average price of town houses is up by a substantial increase of 15.8% across the year. South Belfast has regained its position as the highest priced sub-market in the city with the average house costing £230,010."

"Whilst external pressures remain including the political vacuum, Brexit and the recent rise interest rates, the market remains resilient which supports a positive outlook for the months ahead."

"The survey highlights that average price levels are generally to the upside and that the volume of transactions remains at a high level."

The separate housing price index was published this week by Land and Property Services.

It includes all forms of sale, including cash sales and mortgage sales - resulting in much lower prices being reported.

The index reported a standardised house price of £132,169, which was up by 6% on the year before.

Prices for district council areas recorded in the index ranged from £115,339 in Derry City and Strabane to £159,966 in Lisburn and Castlereagh.

Karly Greene, head of equality and research at the Housing Executive, said: "The average sale price of just under £161,000 is in line with an overall trend for sustainable house price growth, and the number of transactions in the sample points towards a healthy level of activity in the market."

Belfast Telegraph

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.