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New build market is in steady recovery as 350 homes await planning approval

By Emma Deighan

Over 350 new homes across the Belfast and Lisburn and Castlereagh council areas could be in the pipeline if two new planning applications are approved.

In Dundonald, a proposal for 50 new apartments and 243 dwellings has been submitted by developers Turley.

The new homes, if approved, will be located in lands surrounding Millmount Road and Greengaves Road.

And a proposed development of 38 homes, including a mix of four detached and 34 semi detached properties, has been filed for an area near Glenwood Street in the Shankill area of Belfast.

If applications are approved, the schemes will join a long list of new housing developments taking place here.

Just recently, Hagan Homes began construction on 900 new houses in Comber in what is a £50m development.

Prices for homes at Enler Village begin at £149,950.

Simon Brien, of Simon Brien estate agency, says the growth in the number of new builds here is a catchup to a slowdown in construction in the market between 2008 and 2014. And he says the demand from home buyers is high, across all price brackets.

"There is exceptional demand and the good news is, these new projects are not just taking place in Greater Belfast, the activity is right across the province.

"Up until last year, maybe 18 months ago, you didn't have too many options and now there are a lot more people entering the market. We are also seeing prices start from £125,000 and going right up to £800,000," he said.

Andrew Webb, director of economic advisory at Baker Tilly Mooney Moore, said applications and new schemes "suggest that the construction sector has finally emerged from a particularly difficulty decade".

"At the end of the last decade Northern Ireland's housing stock was growing by over 10,000 dwellings a year. That fell to under 2,000 in 2012 and has recovered to just over 6,500 now. So the recovery is appears to be steady..."

The appeal for a new build, Mr Webb added, is "consistently stronger than the demand for re-sales. Much of the reason for that is that builders are offering a very strong mix of value and quality, as well as the ability for the purchaser to input into choices on fixtures and fittings through choosing kitchens, tiles etc. The lack of a sales chain with a new build is also a compelling factor in demand for new compared to re-sales."

Patrick Palmer, partner and director at Templeton Robinson estate agents agreed. He said: "There can be significant advantages to a buyer in a brand new home - they tend to be more energy-efficient, require little initial maintenance and pricing structures can be extremely attractive. With no chain involved, the buying process should also run much smoother. Of course, location is key, and, increasingly, there is much to choose from in this fast-growing sector of the market."

Jamesy Hagan, managing director of Hagan Homes, said: "The demand for superiors homes in Northern Ireland, which offer value for money, remains extremely high."

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