Houses prices in Northern Ireland have started to rise again after almost six years of falling, the latest snapshot of the market has indicated.
In the first three months of this year more surveyors said prices were on the up than those who said they were still on a downward track, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank housing market survey.
The upward pointing trend is the first recorded by the quarterly survey since the summer of 2007.
Of the surveyors questioned for the research, 61% said that prices stayed the same on the previous quarter, 24% said that they were higher, and 15% said they were lower - producing a net balance of 9%.
However respondents to the survey were not optimistic that prices would continue to rise.
In response to that question, there was a net balance of -11%, with 67% expecting prices to remain the same in the next three months, 22% expecting them to fall and 11% expecting them to rise.
The survey recorded evidence of an increasing volume of sales, with 40% saying that there were more transactions between January and March than in the previous three months and 60% stating that numbers remained the same.
With regard to the outlook, respondents expected transaction numbers to continue to rise
RICS Northern Ireland spokesman Tom McClelland said: “We are seeing transaction volumes gradually increasing, which is welcome news. In terms of prices, the picture has been improving in recent months but surveyors remain cautious about the outlook. We remain of the view that there will continue to be seasonal adjustments, and that 2013 will see an underlying trend of easing price falls and modestly improving transaction volumes.”