Belfast Telegraph

Research reveals above-inflation 6% rise in Northern Ireland house prices


By Lisa Smyth

House prices across Northern Ireland have increased by more than 6% over the year - more than 3% above the rate of inflation, new research has found.

The latest Quarterly House Price Index report from Ulster University has revealed a relatively healthy housing market with strong but sustainable levels of house price growth over the last 12 months.

However, it's been warned that the situation should be closely monitored in light of ongoing economic and political uncertainty, as well as the Bank of England's announcement last week that it will raise interest rates to 0.75%.

Analysing the performance of the Northern Ireland housing market between April and June this year, the report reveals an overall average house price of £162,215, up 6.2% over the year.

The Ulster University's research provides a quarterly snapshot of the housing market, helping to inform those involved in the buying or selling process of local trends and developments.

Michael Boyd, Progressive Building Society's deputy chief executive, and co-sponsor of the report said: "Sales volume and house price growth in the second quarter of the year has built on the very strong start to the year which saw a 3.1% increase in the first quarter.

"There are a number of factors that supports this sustainable growth, including continued affordability in comparison to the majority of UK regions, availability of new homes within the first-time buyer market and low levels of unemployment with wages starting to gain on inflation throughout 2018," he added.

Karly Greene, head of research at the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, which co-sponsored the research, said: "Overall, the figures are indicative of a relatively healthy residential housing market, with sustainable levels of activity and house price growth, and a rising proportion of newly-built properties entering the market.

"However, ongoing monitoring will be particularly important in the continuing climate of economic and political uncertainty, and in light of the Bank of England's recent decision to raise the base interest rate."

However, Sam Dickey, partner at Simon Brien Residential, said he believes the housing market will continue to experience a stable increase despite these potential issues.

"The demand is there and prices are still generally affordable," he said.

"People don't seem to be concerned by what is happening with Stormont, it doesn't really affect people, while with Brexit no-one knows what is going to happen, while an interest rate of 0.75% is still very modest."

According to the document, the analysis by price band is indicative of a relatively stable and still affordable housing market in Northern Ireland, with price spreads relatively unchanged over the quarter.

Belfast Telegraph

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.