Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland house prices outpace rest of UK


Report: Samuel Dickey
Report: Samuel Dickey
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

House prices in Northern Ireland continued to outperform other UK regions last month, but activity in the market is reported to be falling back, according to a new survey today.

The RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey for April indicated that residential property prices in Northern Ireland continued to rise last month.

In total, 47% more surveyors said prices rose in the past three months than those who claimed they fell.

The monthly survey of industry professionals is considered an early indicator of trends in the local housing market.

While the results suggested that the price balance for Northern Ireland remains higher than in all other regions, the outlook is not as optimistic, with respondents here expecting prices to fall in the three months ahead.

When it comes to activity, sales and new instructions are reported to have been in decline over the last month. The indicator for new buyer inquiries also remained in negative territory.

As a result, surveyors' near-term expectations for sales activity have dropped to their lowest level since December 2007.

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Some respondents said uncertainty related to Brexit was still impacting on the market and continues to affect buyer confidence. However, the survey also pointed to strong demand for starter homes.

Despite the uncertain political environment, long-term predictions by surveyors were also relatively positive.

The cost of residential property is expected to continue upwards and over the next 12 months sales activity is expected to pick up.

Samuel Dickey, RICS residential property spokesman in Northern Ireland, said: "Clearly, some uncertainty remains in the market, but surveyors are pointing towards the continuing strong performance of the first-time buyer market.

"And while the near-term outlook for prices and activity appears to be subdued, surveyors' perspectives on the longer-term outlook are more upbeat."

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, added: "Some people are perhaps taking a wait and see approach before deciding on a move or purchase, but sales in the new-build market in particular are currently quite strong and this is reflected in a steady demand for mortgages.

"With an increasing supply of new-build properties reported to be coming onto the market, this also bodes well for first-time buyer activity in the months ahead."

Belfast Telegraph