HOUSE prices in the Province will continue to grow in 2014 but Northern Ireland will continue to trail other regions as the national average is expected to reach eight per cent over the year.
That is the forecast today from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) after a year that saw the market finally bottom out in the wake of the property crash.
Reflecting the particular impact on the market here, the RICS annual housing market forecast places Northern Ireland at the bottom of the UK league table for price growth.
At the other extreme, it warns London will see the cost of a home rise by 11 per cent as pent up demand and the recovery fuel house price inflation there.
“The cost of a house is now picking up right across the UK and next year should see more of the same,” said RICS global residential director Peter Bolton King, .
“We expect all areas of the country to see prices increase with London, predictably, recording the biggest rises. The improving economic picture aside, this is largely down to the fact that buyer numbers considerably outweigh the amount of homes on the market.
“While the number of new homes being built is now on the rise, it still won’t be anywhere near enough to meet demand and we expect the problem of insufficient housing stock to be the main driver behind price increases over the next 12 months.”
RICS Northern Ireland housing spokesman Tom McClelland said the Northern Ireland market was markedly different from the rest of the UK: “Northern Ireland house prices are now 54 per cent below their peak, and whilst Northern Ireland prices rose above the UK average in mid-2007, they are now around half the UK average, according to DCLG figures.
“Instances of negative equity have also continued to increase in Northern Ireland whilst falling in the rest of the UK. However, the second half of 2013 saw some improvements in the market, with a second successive rise in prices in Q3 and a year-on-year rise in prices for the first time in almost six years. Transactions also increased in Q3 according to the NI Residential Property Price Index, by 7 per cent. This represented a 12 percent increase on Q3 2012. We expect these improvements to continue into 2014 with prices and transactions continuing to edge higher from their current low levels as confidence and demand increase.”