NI house prices to rise into next year as optimism holds

Houses are in demand but the housing stock is still low says the RICS

The Northern Ireland housing market remains in an optimistic mood despite the political impasse and Brexit fears according to the latest residential market survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank.

House prices rose in October according to the balance of local respondents, and they expect both prices and sales activity to increase in the three months ahead.

The headline price balance for Northern Ireland was +38% in the latest survey, meaning that 38% more surveyors said that prices rose in the past three months than those who said they fell.

The price expectations balance, at +31%, remains positive and above all other UK regions. Meanwhile, sales expectations data (+18%) is also the most positive in the UK.

However, data for newly agreed sales (-5%), new buyer enquiries (+3%) and new instructions (+3%) were all broadly flat.

Looking further ahead, Northern Ireland surveyors are also positive about the prospects for house prices over the next 12-months, in contrast to respondents from most other UK regions.

However, Northern Ireland surveyors continue to report that a lack of housing stock is a challenge for the market.

Indeed, new instructions to sell were broadly flat in October.

“We continue to see a relatively upbeat picture being painted of the Northern Ireland housing market,” said RICS residential property spokesman, Samuel Dickey.

“Surveyors anticipate that this will continue into 2018; albeit that there are some challenges for the market, including limited supply, alongside rising inflation and the fact that interest rates are edging upwards.

“What is clear though is that Northern Ireland’s housing market continues to display more positive sentiment than the UK average, with most other regions seeing both prices and activity flat or falling.”

Sean Murphy, MD of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said: “The latest Ulster Bank PMI indicates that the local economy continues to perform relatively well, with business activity rising and companies continuing to recruit new staff.

“So, it is not surprising that the local housing market remains relatively buoyant.”

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