First Trust Bank has had an active part in helping bring optimism back to the property market and now the company hopes to shine a light on others who have also played a role by coming on board for the 2016 Belfast Telegraph Property Awards.
The bank is sponsoring the Residential Development of the Year award in our showcase event, which will bring together people from across the industry for a major celebration in November.
The Northern Ireland Housing Market Review Perspectives 2015-2018 paints an optimistic picture of the property market. Since 2012 there has been a steady increase in the number of residential property sales transactions, and in 2014 there were more than 20,000. As the local housing market returns to a more normalised level, with the purchase of residential development land gaining momentum and the delivery of an increased number of new builds helping to address the current supply/demand imbalance, the overall number of transactions is expected to increase.
This optimism is apparent in the construction sector too. After six years of contraction, which took the sector in 2013 down to just 57% of its 2007 peak, construction output in NI is predicted to have an annual average growth of 3% over the next five years. This will go some way to meet the shortfall in the supply of new housing.
Against this backdrop Derek Wilson, head of mortgages at First Trust Bank, highlights the talent and commitment of NI companies to meet the needs of Northern Ireland's housing market.
"While it is clear we need continuous residential and social housing development, we already have a quality and growing residential development market with a range of local businesses dedicated to satisfying evolving demands in the sector with innovative ideas - whilst being conscious of the social and environmental impact," said Derek.
"This is all the more evident when we look at the high calibre of entries in the upcoming Belfast Telegraph Property Awards 2016 which celebrate excellence within the property sector, and indeed within residential development - an award category we are proud to sponsor."
First Trust Bank has been active in both the social housing and private residential development markets. Its investment support has helped create additional construction jobs and many other posts further along the supply chain, helping grow existing communities and establish new ones.
"We also offer a wide range of mortgages through our branch network and our intermediary partners including co-ownership housing, first-time buyer, mover and switcher mortgages," added Derek.
Increased mortgage availability has played a major role in helping restore consumer confidence, with the number of loans across all sectors on the rise.
Speaking about this trend, Derek said: "Key to meeting consumer demand and support the growth of the residential sector is to ensure the mortgage process is open and easy to navigate, and at First Trust Bank we're happy to help.
"Whether you are a housing group, a developer, a business or a potential home buyer - engaging with an expert early on can make a world of difference in the journey to completing the process of developing, building or buying a home."