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Is the slide in house values beginning to slow at last?

By Helen Carson

The tide could be beginning to turn for the Northern Ireland property market but only just, it was revealed today.

The latest house price report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has shown that while property values are still going down, it is by a smaller margin compared to earlier this year.

The RICS figures indicate a marked improvement with 71% of surveyors noting price falls in March, compared to 95% in February.

And the province is bucking a national trend with prices here easing back, while the UK market continues to nosedive.

The survey said nearly one third (29%) of RICS members reported that prices stayed the same, with another third (32%) adding that prices fell by up to two per cent. A further 12% saw prices dipping by two and five per cent, while values which tumbled by more than five per cent were accounted for by 27% of the profession.

RICS spokesman Tom McClelland, said: "While the balance of chartered surveyors reporting price deflation in the rest of the UK has taken a turn for the worse, the survey reports that price falls in Northern Ireland, although still significant, have been easing back."

A rise in property viewings as well as signs of improving demand were also reported by the surveyors.

"The increase in demand is probably seasonally driven and may therefore continue into the coming months, depending on the Bank of England's willingness to reduce interest rates further and mortgage lenders' willingness to pass on any reductions," Mr McClelland went on to say.

Ulster Bank head of mortgages, Derek Wilson, said: "Indications of an easing back in local house price falls is encouraging and will help create confidence."

He added the next few months will be "very important" with potential buyers deciding when they are going to enter the market.

Buyers got a boost last week when interest rates dropped by another quarter of a per cent taking the base rate down to five per cent.


From Belfast Telegraph