Enquiries rise as market begins to strengthen

RICS spokesman Samuel Dickey
RICS spokesman Samuel Dickey

New homebuyer enquiries in Northern Ireland have risen for the first time in sixth months, according to the latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey.

Prices and sales were also up last month, according to surveyors, as a range of indicators pointed to a strengthening in the market.

In addition, new instructions to sell rose modestly, the survey indicates - however, they are still subdued relative to new buyer enquiries, suggesting that supply in the market will likely remain tight.

Looking ahead, surveyors are relatively upbeat in their expectations, with prices and sales anticipated to rise over the three months ahead.

Indeed, the significant majority of Northern Ireland respondents (89 percent) deem residential property here to offer good value - Northern Ireland had a higher proportion of surveyors saying so about their local market than any other UK region.

“As we move out of the summer months and further away from the shock EU Referendum result, the market has gathered some momentum, said RICS residential property spokesman Samuel Dickey.

“With supply remaining tight, and the perception that the local market offers good value for buyers, it would not be surprising if prices and activity continued to edge up.”

Sean Murphy, managing director, Branch Banking at Ulster Bank, said: “With a very low interest rate environment, it is an affordable time to borrow, and we are seeing a growing number of mortgage enquiries.

“At Ulster Bank, our standard variable rate has been reduced in line with the Bank of England base rate reduction.”