Belfast Telegraph

Property prices here are rising quicker than rest of UK, according to survey

Variations: Samuel Dickey
Variations: Samuel Dickey
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland house prices are expected to continue to rise despite some notes of caution, according to a survey today.

Research by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in Northern Ireland and Ulster Bank found that more RICS members in the province had reported a rise in prices over the last few months than in any other part of the UK.

But members were also reporting that enquiries from new buyers and newly agreed sales were flat.

Nonetheless, looking ahead, surveyors were optimistic that prices would continue to rise.

Strong numbers expected prices to be higher in a year's time, and a lower number expected sales activity to be stronger in a year.

However, the respondents to the survey said more houses needed to come onto the market if there was to be further growth, as there were signs that fewer properties were being put up for sale.

Samuel Dickey, RICS residential property spokesman, said that anecdotally, there were signs of some variations around the province, with some areas reporting "something of a slowdown" - which he said could be down to seasonal factors.

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"My own experience is that areas including North Down, Ards and east Belfast are motoring ahead."

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said: "From our perspective the first half of the year has been a strong one for mortgage demand, particularly from first-time buyers but also from other types of buyers as well. We don't see this changing dramatically in the months ahead and see good ongoing demand from people who want to buy their own home, move home or remortgage."

Thomas O'Doherty, a director at estate agents Simon Brien, which has offices in Holywood, Newtownards, east Belfast and south Belfast, said activity had been buoyant over the last few months.

"We continue to find that there is strong interest in any property we put on the market, if it is presented well and priced right."

He said resales and new homes alike were selling well, with a new development at Rivenwood in Newtownards selling well, and "a lot of interest" in its second phase. He added: "Even this week, while it's the July holidays, we are still buying and selling."

According to separate research on house prices by Land and Property Services published in May, average house prices in Northern Ireland increased by around 3.5% between the first quarter in 2018 and the first quarter in 2019.

The research reported a standardised house price of £134,811, with prices ranging from around £119,951 in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council area, to £160,301 in Lisburn and Castlereagh.

Meanwhile, the Ulster University house price survey reported an average price of £162,914 for the first quarter.

Belfast Telegraph