Northern Ireland house prices 'could rise even further'
Northern Ireland estate agents are predicting a continued rises in house prices here, contrasted will a less positive forecast across the UK as a whole.
House prices rose in October, according to a balance of surveyors quizzed.
And they expect both prices and sales activity to increase in the three months ahead, according to the latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank market survey.
"Looking further ahead, Northern Ireland surveyors are also positive about the prospects for house prices over the next 12 months, in contrast to respondents from most other UK regions," it said. "However, Northern Ireland surveyors continue to report that a lack of housing stock is a challenge for the market.
"Indeed, new instructions to sell were broadly flat in October."
There was a fall in newly agreed sales, with new buyer enquiries flat across October.
RICS residential property spokesman Samuel Dickey said: "We continue to see a relatively upbeat picture being painted of the Northern Ireland housing market, and surveyors anticipate that this will continue into 2018, albeit that there are some challenges, including limited supply, alongside rising inflation and the fact that interest rates are edging upwards.
"What is clear, though, is that Northern Ireland's housing market continues to display more positive sentiment than the UK average, with most other regions seeing both prices and activity flat or falling."
Sean Murphy, managing director of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said that it is "not surprising" the Northern Ireland housing market remains "relatively buoyant", as the latest Ulster Bank purchasing managers index (PMI) pointed to strong economic growth.
The index said the sectors of services, retail and manufacturing had reported a growth in activity for September, with manufacturers' exports still boosted by the weak sterling.
"The latest Ulster Bank PMI indicates that the local economy continues to perform relatively well, with business activity rising and companies continuing to recruit new staff," Mr Murphy said.