Belfast Telegraph

Optimism over growth in house prices in Northern Ireland despite slowdown for November

Samuel Dickey
Samuel Dickey

by margaret canning

House price growth slowed in Northern Ireland last month, though surveyors here are among the most optimistic about the prospects for a New Year pick-up, according to a survey today.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said that while buyers were still active, fewer sales had been taking place - partly because of a fall in properties coming onto the market.

And the prospect of today's General Election had created some uncertainty, with a fall in the numbers of surveyors who were reporting a rise in sales. The number of surveyors who had reported a rise in prices over the last quarter was at its lowest level in more than three years.

Samuel Dickey (below), RICS residential property spokesman in Northern Ireland, said: "It is not surprising that activity is easing back as we approach the end of the year and price momentum is slowing, not least with the uncertainty that comes before a General Election.

"However, the indications from respondents are that the New Year will see activity increase and prices continue to edge upwards. Indeed, the feedback regarding both prices and sales in the short term and medium term has strengthened."

The number of surveyors who were feeling optimistic about sales during the year ahead was growing. And those who were predicting price increases outnumbered those who expected prices to fall. In fact, surveyors in NI were second only to Wales for their optimism about the prospects for next year.

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said: "The easing back of housing market activity in November is in line with the wider economic environment.

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"However, our pipeline of mortgage activity remains strong and we continue to see good demand from prospective homebuyers.

"This should translate into housing market activity in early 2020."

At an average of £139,951, house prices here are around 38% below their 2007 peak of £224,670. In contrast, the other UK nations have now surpassed 2007 levels.

Belfast Telegraph