Prices remain high but the market has slowed down due to lack of supply
Top of the list of most desirable places to live in Northern Ireland, Co Antrim surprisingly saw some of the smallest average price rises in the last quarter of 2020.
In fact, next to neighbouring Co Londonderry, the area had the most modest increase of just 5.3%.
The average price of a house in Antrim rose from £177,111 in the last quarter of 2020 to £186,466 in the final three months of 2021.
While rural properties increased by 6.4%, houses in towns across Antrim dropped in value by 2.5%.
In the early part of the pandemic property prices on the coast soared as local people scrambled to buy a holiday home because of overseas travel restrictions. This demand has remained.
According to Country Estates, which has five branches in the county, lack of supply has slowed the market and the rising cost of living is also impacting housing stock.
Director Scott Edmondson explains: “Across the board in Co Antrim there is a still a high demand for detached homes with garden space, but we have in the last few weeks seen the post-lockdown feeding frenzy abate and the length of property marketing periods are now into weeks as opposed to days.
“The demand for apartments and townhouses has increased again as this area of sales struggled throughout the pandemic.
“Generally, across Co Antrim there has been no great volume of properties coming to the market so far in 2022, which has been driving an increase in prices.
“However, price hikes seem to be stabilising as people start to go out again and holiday etc, which was curtailed throughout the pandemic and that in turn with the general increase in the costs of living has also impacted prices as people are being more realistic with regards to affordability.”
Like elsewhere, a lack of new developments is impacting the first-time buyer market.
Instead, those who managed to save deposits during the pandemic to get onto the property ladder are looking at houses that need a bit of work, as they are more affordable.
Scott says: “There have been no major new developments released to drive the first-time buyer market within Co Antrim.
“In turn we have seen a greater uptake of the first-time buyer going for the archetypical ‘doer upper’ as opposed to the fully turnkey new build.”
This is reflected in the rising costs of townhouses and terrace properties, which saw the biggest gains of any house type in the county during the last quarter of last year.
The beautiful north coast continues to be sought after location.
Scott adds: “The north coast has always had a different market than the rest of the county.
“Properties are still attracting premium purchase prices, primarily by the second home/buy to lets, with little or no sign of this changing in the very near future.
“This again is largely due to lack of volume of properties coming to market and as second homeowners utilise these homes more largely due to the pandemic and the general uncertainty around travel.
“Prices in Co Antrim are remaining strong as the current demand outstrips the availability, but we will have to see what the future brings over the next few months with the potential increase in interest rates, costs of living, and the ongoing global issues.”