First-timers push up average price of home
The average house price in Northern Ireland is now £137,000 - up almost 5% this year.
First-time buyers appear to be the principal driving force behind the rise, according to the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The average price for properties bought by first-time buyers across the UK increased by 12% over the year to June 2014 – up from 11.3% in May 2014. This is the highest annual increase for first-time buyers since April 2010.
However, Northern Ireland is behind by some distance in terms of house price recovery
England remains the only part of the UK where prices are higher than their pre-financial crisis peak – standing at 10% above their previous high in 2008.
Prices in Northern Ireland are around 47% below their previous peak, compared to just 3% in Wales and 1.6% in Scotland.
Raymond Mulligan, director of Johnston Campbell, Northern Ireland's biggest independent financial advisers, said while there was recovery in house prices, it was mostly restricted to the greater Belfast area.
"This is localised, it's a net figure which masks significant fluctuation," he said.
"We find that around Belfast figures are significantly higher, but if you take west of the Bann the figures are significantly lower.
"There is quite a wide variance across Northern Ireland. If you take the greater Belfast area and North Down, they are probably more resilient to the downturn."
Mr Mulligan said bidding had started in the last three months – something he said had been unheard of for a long time.
"I have heard from a number of people that there is now bidding situations for properties and land, which was unheard of for many years," he said.
"We have seen bidding starting within the last three to six months."
Meanwhile, property values in London have continued to increase around twice as quickly as those across the UK, with the capital seeing a 19.3% jump in prices in the 12 months to June.
The average house price in London is now just shy of half-a-million pounds, at £499,000. On a month-on-month basis, house prices in general increased across the UK by 0.5% between May and June.
London and the south east of England are continuing to record the strongest annual price uplifts, and the ONS said that if these regions were taken out of the figures, UK house prices would have increased at a slower pace of 6.3% in the 12 months to June and they would stand at £201,000 on average.
However, all regions have seen house price growth over the last year. The north east remains the English region with the lowest average house prices, at around £150,000. However, prices in the north east have lifted by 4.4% annually. Wales has seen the smallest annual price growth out of all the UK nations and regions, with a 3.5% year-on-year increase taking average prices there to £167,000.
In Scotland, property values have grown by 6% annually, pushing the average house price there to £193,000.
Northern Ireland, which saw some sharp falls in property values in the wake of the financial crisis, has seen prices lift by 4.9% over the last year, taking them to £137,000 typically.
Northern Ireland's house prices rose more dramatically than any other region of the UK during the height of the property boom during 2007-8. However, our prices also suffered the biggest drops in the UK at the end of 2009 during the financial crisis. Property values in Northern Ireland have not recovered from that drop and are still 47% below the peak prices. Comparatively England prices have surpassed their peak, while Scotland is just 1.6% below theirs and Wales is 3% shy.