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Too many buyers, not enough homes as NI prices rise by over 10%


Samuel Dickey

Samuel Dickey

Samuel Dickey

Supply problems are continuing to push local house prices higher as more people than ever seek to move home, according to a report released today

A survey carried out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in December suggested there were too many buyers for the number of homes.

December marked the sixth month in a row in which respondents reported a decline in new homes coming onto the market — another price pressure.

The report was released as separate data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicated there had been a 10.7% increase in local house prices in the year to November 2021, hitting an average of £159,000.

The RICS, which carried out its survey with Ulster Bank, said the outlook for sales over the next three months was better.

More surveyors were expecting sales to pick up in spring. However, many also expected house prices to keep rising over the next three months.

RICS Northern Ireland residential property spokesman Samuel Dickey said things could change within months.

He added: “Despite changes to stamp duty and interest rate rises in the second half of 2021, new buyer enquiries remained strong to the end of the year.

“However, a lack of stock continues to be the issue highlighted by surveyors as both holding back sales and pushing up prices.

“That said, there is a suggestion that there is scope for transaction numbers to edge up over the next few months.”

Terry Robb, the head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said that demand for home loans had been strong throughout the year, particularly with 95% mortgages on offer.

Northern Ireland’s house price growth figure was slightly stronger than the 10% growth recorded across the UK as a whole, according to the ONS.

The average UK house price in November was £271,000, which was £25,000 higher than a year earlier.

In Scotland, average house prices hit a record high average of £183,000, up 11.4%.

Art O’Hagan, managing director of the estate agency CPS Property, said strong demand was straining a “dwindling” supply of properties.

But he added: “It’s almost certain an increase in supply and a waning of the Covid-driven demand for housing will moderate the current levels of price and rent growth in the coming months, but the affordability gap at the heart of the equation is unlikely to change much.”

CPS has six branches across Northern Ireland.