Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland house prices climb by 7% as recovery continues

By Claire McNeilly

House prices in Northern Ireland increased by 7% in 2015, a new report has found.

The price of a standard home is now just over £118,000 as the market continues to make a recovery.

Property values are just over half (53%) of what they before the crash in 2008.

Referring to the official data issued by the Department of Finance, Minister Mervyn Storey said he believed "continued confidence" in the market was "encouraging".

"This healthy level of activity has now been maintained for the last two years and is almost double the level experienced in the years 2008 to 2011," he said.

Prices are strongest in the North Down and Ards area, where the standard cost is £140,881. At the other end of the scale is Derry and Strabane with a £96,492 price tag. In Belfast, prices rose 8%, with the standard now £112,930.

All areas except Mid-Ulster saw a rise in the latest quarter, the report from Stormont's statistics agency showed.

In the last three months of 2015, there were more than 5,000 sales, roughly equal to the same period in 2014. More than 20,400 residential properties were sold over the year.

A new report from Santander Mortgages, meanwhile, revealed there are more than 1,300 homes in Northern Ireland worth more than £1m. That figure is expected to increase by 900 in the next 15 years, rising from 1,338 in 2015 to 2,328 in 2030.

Today, fewer than 500,000 homes in the UK are valued at £1m or more, but that is set to rise to more than 1.6 million over the next decade-and-a-half.

Santander, in partnership with economist and LSE professor of economic geography, Paul Cheshire, looked at the UK property market, with a particular focus on £1m-plus homes. The Property Millionaires: The Growing Housing Divide report found that by 2030, 25% of housing stock in London is expected to be valued at £1m or more, rising to 70% in two London boroughs.

While 7% of homes in the south-east are expected to fetch £1m or more in 15 years, fewer than 1% in the north-east, Yorkshire and Humber, north-west, Scotland, the east Midlands, Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to do the same, highlighting a stark geographical divide.

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