Northern Ireland house price rises to continue as market stays strongest in UK
Northern Ireland's housing market remains the strongest performing among UK regions, with house prices predicted to keep increasing.
Property prices fell across Great Britain for a third successive month in November, according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey.
But Northern Ireland defied the trend, with 39% more respondents reporting an increase in the value of their home.
RICS residential property spokesperson Samuel Dickey said he believes 2018 is "shaping up to be a good year" for the housing market, despite concerns over performance elsewhere.
"House prices look to have risen at a healthy rate and activity in various segments of the market has been relatively good, albeit that there are regional variations," he said.
"Uncertainty in the wider environment doesn't seem to be having a significant impact on the housing market to date.
"Whether that continues into 2019 remains to be seen."
According to the RICS, the professional body for estate agents and surveyors, experts are significantly more optimistic about sales activity in Northern Ireland. However, the latest survey does show a slight drop in the number of new properties coming onto the market, which has prompted calls for action.
"One thing that does continue to be a feature is the lack of supply," Mr Dickey said. "We need to see more new homes being built, and more resale properties would need to become available to meet demand."
Surveyors here are more optimistic about prices continuing to rise over the next three months, compared to experts in England, Scotland and Wales.
Sales are expected to fall in all but one other region over the next quarter.
London and the South East of England experienced the biggest slump in property prices last month.
Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said that high demand has driven the stream of healthy activity during the year.
"Our new paperless mortgage process has played a role in helping generate interest, but demand more broadly in the market remains firm," he added.
"The level of interest that we are seeing from customers, as well as feedback from surveyors, suggests that the early part of 2019 at least will continue to see good demand."
The latest Land and Property House Price Index survey revealed the average Northern Ireland home cost £135,060 in the third quarter of 2018.