Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland housing market still one of the UK's best performing

Positive: Samuel Dickey
Positive: Samuel Dickey
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland's housing market remains one of the best-performing in the UK though supply could become an issue, according to a survey out today.

And the Northern Ireland Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) report said the lack of new homes coming on to the market could be having the effect of putting up prices.

The residential market survey, which is produced with Ulster Bank, said that more surveyors from Northern Ireland than in any other part of the UK had reported that house prices had risen over the last quarter.

They also expected prices to go up in the next three months.

Tiffany Brien, an estate agent with agency Simon Brien, said supply was not a major issue in its locations in Holywood, Newtownards, east Belfast and south Belfast. But she added: "We would love to get more houses on the market, as every estate agent would say.

"Things that are priced well are moving very quickly. There are plenty of people upsizing and others who are downsizing."

However, the residential market survey reported that new buyer enquiries and newly agreed sales were subdued, with data suggesting that fewer properties are coming on to the market.

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But looking ahead to the next 12 months, surveyors were still relatively optimistic that prices would be higher in a year's time.

However, they were less cheery about what sales activity could be like in the next 12 months, which RICS said could reflect challenges over supply.

Samuel Dickey, RICS residential property spokesman in Northern Ireland, said: "Whilst it appears that there continues to be variation in the market here across property types and in different locations, overall the data is more positive in Northern Ireland than in other parts of the UK.

"This is certainly the case regarding the price index.

"Evidence of demand levels being above supply levels in some areas of Northern Ireland is clearly a factor in this."

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said: "A range of surveys and reports have pointed to strong first-time buyer demand in Northern Ireland in 2019.

"This is something that is reflected in our mortgage lending and we think is likely to continue into the second half of the year as well.

"Growth in the home-mover market is perhaps more subdued. However, more properties coming on to the market would certainly provide better choice for those seeking to move house.

"Whether supply increases in the second half of the year remains to be seen."

The survey said that a net balance of 67% of surveyors in Northern Ireland reported an increase in house prices over the last three months - the highest percentage in the UK.

And 26% also expected prices to continue to go up over the next three months.

Belfast Telegraph