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House prices and sales will fall due to pandemic but possibly only in the short term, says trade body

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House prices and sales in Northern Ireland are expected to fall as a result of the lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, according to a report today. (Andrew Matthews/PA)

House prices and sales in Northern Ireland are expected to fall as a result of the lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, according to a report today. (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Samuel Dickey

Samuel Dickey

House prices and sales in Northern Ireland are expected to fall as a result of the lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, according to a report today. (Andrew Matthews/PA)

House prices and sales in Northern Ireland are expected to fall as a result of the lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, according to a report today.

Estate agents and surveyors have said the market has already been hit by a fall in sales - and in the long-term, government measures such as stamp duty holiday may be needed to help the market recover.

The report from Ulster Bank and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors also said enquiries from new buyers were their lowest in 13 years while new instructions to sell were also down.

And the majority of RICS members here now expect house sales and prices to fall over the next few months.

However, today's survey said that the outlook was more positive when estate agents and surveyors looked one year ahead.

Samuel Dickey, RICS residential property spokesman, said: "At this stage it is very difficult to forecast the impact of the coronavirus situation on the housing market beyond the few months ahead. Clearly it depends on how long the current restrictions continue. However, what we do know is that the housing market in NI was in reasonable shape going into the crisis.

"We also know that there will be some pent-up demand from those who would have wanted to buy in this period of stasis, albeit that many people's financial situations will have changed."

Belfast Telegraph