Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland housing market strong with prices on the up

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland's housing market is the most confident in the UK with five years of increasing prices and predictions of more growth, according to a survey.

But the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey said prices still remained well below the 2007 peak.

Northern Ireland had the biggest number of surveyors of anywhere in the UK who reported that prices had gone up, and who reported that prices would keep going up.

The separate residential property price index from Land and Property Services for the second quarter of 2018 puts the standardised house price for Northern Ireland at £132,795 - nearly 40% below the standardised price of £216,751 for the peak of the market in 2007.

Elsewhere in the UK, there was evidence that the increase in interest rates announced last month from 0.5% to 0.75% had put some house buyers off buying a new home.

RICS residential property spokesman Samuel Dickey said: "The latest survey suggests that sales trends are solid in Northern Ireland and surveyors expect the market to remain relatively strong despite some uncertainty.

"Average prices in Northern Ireland, though, still remain well below their 2007 peak, unlike many other UK regions, which perhaps helps explain the continued upward trajectory of prices here.

"With new-buyer enquiries continuing to see increases, it appears that recent interest rate rises have not impacted on buyer interest in Northern Ireland."

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said: "Northern Ireland's housing market is continuing to display more positive sentiment than the UK average and that shows no sign of changing in the short term.

"Buying or moving home remains an attractive option for many people, as, despite rising prices, buying in Northern Ireland remains relatively very affordable.

"We see evidence that people have a strong desire to own their own home and are interested in re-mortgaging to move house."

Meanwhile, Bank of England policymakers are set to sit tight on interest rates today after last month's hike and following encouraging news on the economy.

The Chancellor this week confirmed that Bank governor Mark Carney will stay on until January 2020, extending his term by seven months to help support the UK through Brexit.

Belfast Telegraph

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