Mortgage sales in Northern Ireland dropped faster than almost any other UK region in the last month, new figures show. The value of Northern Ireland mortgage lending in July fell by 18.5%, according to Equifax Touchstone.
The slowdown was only outpaced by Scottish lending, which fell by 19.8%. Overall, mortgage sales for the UK decreased by £1.8bn in July, down 10.8% on the previous month.
Overall, mortgage sales for the month totalled £14.8bn.
Buy-to-let figures were resistant to the general decline, down by just 0.2%, or £3.9m, to £2.6bn, while residential sales dropped by 12.8%, falling to £12.2bn.
John Driscol, director at Equifax Touchstone, said: "These figures show how volatile the mortgage market can be. Sales have tumbled in July, with every region suffering substantial declines as buyers are put off by continuing political and economic uncertainty, coupled with the worrying gap between inflation and wage growth.
"These circumstances may be further compounded by the potential for an interest rate hike as early as September, driven by continued pressure on the pound. On a more optimistic note, mortgage sales are up over 10% year-on-year and a dip in sales for July is not uncommon. However, as the summer period comes to a close, the long-term outlook for the market still remains very unclear."
Overall, the average value of a residential mortgage in July was £199,286. That's up from £188,115 in 2016.
Meanwhile, according to the latest official figures, Northern Ireland house prices have risen by 3.1% in just three months.
The research from the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency shows 5,106 properties were sold during the last quarter, between April and June.
The average house price is now £128,650. But prices vary significantly across the region.
Prices increased in all 11 council areas, with the largest rise in Fermanagh and Omagh, with prices up by 5.6% to an average of £118,451, while Belfast prices are up by 3% to £120,351.
The cost of buying a home increased by 4.7% in the Lisburn and Castlereagh area, rising to £154,704.
The housing index measures change in the price of residential property sold in Northern Ireland, and uses stamp duty information on residential property sales recorded by HMRC.