Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland house prices rise by 3.5% in year...

... but strong variations depending on location

Starting price of £149,950 for three-bedroom on Dunluce Avenue, Belfast
Starting price of £149,950 for three-bedroom on Dunluce Avenue, Belfast
Starting price of £114,950 for three-bed semi on Willowmount Avenue, Omagh
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

House prices in Northern Ireland have risen by 3.5% over the last year to an average of £136,767, according to a Government report.

House prices in Northern Ireland have been recovering gradually since the house price crash which began in 2007 and lingered until 2013.

However, according to Ulster Bank chief economist Richard Ramsey, the rate of yearly growth is now at a seven-year low.

At the peak of the market in the third quarter of the year the average price was £224,670, according to the index. Today's average is 40% lower.

Mr Ramsey said: "Northern Ireland's house price recovery is six years old.

"For 23 of the last 25 quarters residential property prices have gone one way - up.

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"Despite this significant run of steady price rises, less than one-third of the 57% drop in prices that occurred between quarter three 2007 and quarter one 2013 has been recouped so far.

"As of quarter two 2019, local house prices were still 39% below quarter three 2007's 'freak peak'."

And across the province there are major variations in what the sum of £136,767 - the cost of the average home - will buy. In Lisburn it will buy you a three-bed semi-detached house. A three-bed house in Lambeg, Co Antrim, has been on sale for £135,000.

But in the student-dominated area of the Lisburn Road in Belfast, a three-bedroom mid-terrace on Dunluce Avenue has an asking price of £149,950. In Omagh, Co Tyrone, a three-bed semi-detached property will cost you just under £115,000.

Towards the upper end of the market, around £300,000 will buy you a detached country-style pad in Armagh with five bedrooms.

On the Upper Lisburn Road in Finaghy, £310,000 will buy you an elegant four-bed end of terrace townhouse. The house price index from Land & Property Services said there had been a 0.8% increase in prices between the first and second quarter of the year. Seven out of the 11 district council areas showed an increase.

Prices ranged from £120,226 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, and £163,466 in Lisburn and Castlereagh, the most expensive council area in which to buy a house.

The index is compiled using stamp duty information following house sales.

Unlike other house price surveys, it includes auction and cash sales of houses.

It said that there were 5,210 residential properties sold during the second quarter of 2019 - though that tally was likely to be revised up due to late stamp duty returns.

Mr Ramsey said that the 0.8% quarter-on-quarter price gain in April to June had reversed a 0.8% price decrease in the first quarter - which he said had been "the first significant stutter in price growth in six years".

"As a result, at the halfway point of 2019 prices are no higher than when they started the year. Nevertheless, the standardised price in quarter two of £136,767 is up 3.5% year-on-year," he added.

But Mr Ramsey said the market here was still outperforming other regions.

"Despite the annual rate of house price growing slowing to a seven-quarter low, Northern Ireland's house price gains compare favourably with elsewhere.

"After Wales, Northern Ireland posted the second fastest annual house price rise in quarter two."

And he said slower growth was the hallmark of other markets in the UK and the Republic.

"UK annual house price inflation eased to just 1.1% in quarter two 2019. That marks the lowest annual price increase since quarter four 2012."

He added that house price growth in the Republic was now 2.5% year-on-year - the weakest since 2013.

The separate Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank house price survey last week said Northern Ireland's housing market remains one of the best-performing in the UK, though supply could become an issue.

The earlier survey said new buyer enquiries and newly agreed sales were subdued, with data suggesting fewer properties are coming on to the market.

Belfast Telegraph

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