Good news at last for the Northern Ireland property market!
“Green Shoots”, “Tentative Steps”, call it what you will but today we got confirmation that Northern Ireland house prices are on the up with a significant increase in the number of sales agreed! Whilst no one is saying that we have left the hard times behind, the significant increase in activity in the property market in the first three months of the year bodes well for the Summer which is generally more busy. If you look at the local press you will also notice a significant amount of advertising space being taken up by our local banks who all appear to want mortgage business again.
A survey released by the University of Ulster, produced by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Bank of Ireland, covered 1,407 open market transactions from a network of estate agents for the first three months of 2013.
One of the report’s authors, Professor Alastair Adair, said, “The first quarter survey provides further support to the argument that the housing market is showing tentative signs of recovery, with the volume of transactions up again this quarter and with a weighted rate of increase of 1.9% in the aggregate market compared to the same quarter in 2012. Alan Bridle, UK economist at Bank of Ireland UK, said, “Higher demand from both first-time buyers at the new price points, coupled with investors attracted by rental yields on some properties, are reported as key drivers of increased activity, particularly in the Belfast market. Some modest loosening in the mortgage market, partly as a result of the UK Funding for Lending Scheme, and a perception that prices may have bottomed in the more urban locations, may also be positive influences. Seasonal trends should be supportive of higher sales volumes over the next few months”. The Housing Executive’s head of research, Joe Frey, said, “Further signs of a stabilising housing market are to be welcomed”.
Some Facts and Figures
South Belfast, where the average price of a house is £166,000, remains the highest priced area in Northern Ireland, while north Belfast is the least expensive with an average of £76,144. Fermanagh and South Tyrone is next at £86,197.
The strongest performance was for detached houses, up 6.4% over a year to an average of £215,261.
Detached bungalows increased by 3.1% to £145,786 while terraced/townhouses were up 5.5% to an average of £85,351, and the apartment sector saw prices rise by 2.8% to an average of £102,959.