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The key(s) to a successful property year: Experts predict how the NI market will look as we begin 2022

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The NI property market will remain buoyant in 2022 predict experts

The NI property market will remain buoyant in 2022 predict experts

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The NI property market will remain buoyant in 2022 predict experts

Listening to friends and family trying to negotiate the Northern Ireland property market in 2021 makes it clear just how exceptionally busy it has been — and for a number of reasons.

The house price growth has been 10.2% across the province, which is a lot higher than norm, which would tend to be 4% to 5%,” says Simon Brien of Simon Brien Estate Agents (simonbrien.com).

“That’s been driven by a number of factors: number one, people wanting to move for lifestyle reasons; it’s really being prompted by Covid and lockdown and working from home.

“People have decided they want a fourth bedroom, a bigger garden, to move to the country and there’s a significant amount of people also returning from further afield to live in Northern Ireland. That sort of fuelled the market which has driven prices.”

Given the strength of house sales in 2021, perhaps it’s no surprise that demand is outstripping supply.

“There’s been a lot of viewing activity at anything that’s been coming up,” says Simon of the property shortage.

“For anybody selling, it’s been a very good time to sell because there’s a lot of viewers and offers coming in very quickly and houses making over asking prices, which is good when you’re selling but probably not so good when you’re buying.

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“Going into the spring, I do think the market will continue as it left off in 2021 because there still is an undersupply in both the private resale market and the new homes market.

“But I don’t anticipate really that the rate of growth will be as strong as last year. It was particularly strong, buoyed up by a lot of people’s lifestyle choices after a return from England where people maybe have a lot more money.”

“This market is actually really sustainable; we’ve the same number of houses and we’ve a much greater audience interested in buying them,” says John Minnis of John Minnis Estate Agents (johnminnis.co.uk).

“We also have a monetary lending market that is bolstered up on decent deposits. It’s not like 2007 where there were 130% mortgages, self-certification mortgages.

“You went to the bank because you wanted to buy a house and they offered you money for the house and then more money to put on an extension. They were throwing money at people and then they took it all back.

“We are in a scenario with more people who want to buy our limited number of houses.”

Northern Ireland remains the most affordable region in the UK property wise, with an average house price of £150,000.

“Whilst we’ve seen growth, it’s still the most affordable region,” says Simon.

“I think our prices are sustainable. The world and global markets and global issues and Covid will be the deciding factor on whether prices will go up, but I don’t think they’ll go down. I would actually be really quite upbeat about the market for 2022,” says John.

And Northern Ireland is an attractive proposition for not just potential homeowners.

“There also have been investors buying because they’ve been getting such a poor return on their money in the banks. Interest rates being so low, they’ve been actually looking at property now as a secure place to put their money because they’re getting a decent rental return, and maybe a 6% or 7% yield plus,” explains Simon.

“Even if the annual growth was 5%, the combination of the rental yield and the growth is a much better return than you’d get in a bank.”

Simon predicts our housing market will remain strong this coming year.

“I would certainly like to see the rate of growth tailing back to more, 4% or 5% or 6% which is a more sustainable and affordable level.

“In the traditional spring market, you get more people actually putting their house up for sale, so I think that’s likely to happen.”

Moreover, Covid has given many an opportunity to re-evaluate their property goals. They’re not purchasing property to make money in a short space of time; rather focusing on reasons of lifestyle and personal choice.

“It’s not a financial thing where people are saying, I’m buying to make money,” says Simon. “That’s really way down the priority list. People obviously want to make sure their house doesn’t lose money of course!”

The location’s rise in popularity could be dubbed the Northern Ireland factor, as people originally from here move home — while others make the area their new locality.

“The English market is the most interesting thing,” says John. “That’s not just people returning but we’re actually selling to English families who are choosing to live here in Northern Ireland. They can avail of an English wage working remotely from here and fly in for a meeting. What we’ve seen in 2021 is the appetite and probably the infancy of people returning from England and new English people choosing to live here. You might see that as a trend set to continue for a while.

“We maybe haven’t realised, because we’re too close to it, that we have a great standard of life here.

“We have mountains we can go and climb, golf courses we can go and play on, the seashore and waters around us.

There’s a lot about this place about which to be optimistic.

“It makes sense,” says John. “If we were a slightly warmer climate, I think you’d find it hard to hold them all back!

“My take on the market going into 2022, and I can only predict for the next six months, but I would be positive. All the indicators look good and having a bigger audience to sell your houses too has to count for something.”


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