House prices still rising but expectations for sales drops

Northern Ireland house prices continued to outperform the other UK regions during April, month, but activity in the market is reported to be slowing.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 9th May 2019, 7:00 am
While the view for the summer may seem subdued, the longer term outlook is more more upbeat
While the view for the summer may seem subdued, the longer term outlook is more more upbeat

The findings come in the results of the latest Residential Market Survey from the Royal Instiution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank.

Despite the relative buoyancy in the province the majority of the professionals polled expect prices to fall in the three months ahead.

When it comes to activity, sales and new instructions over the last month are reported to have been in decline.

The indicator for new buyer enquiries also remained in negative territory.

As a result, surveyors’ near-term expectations for sales activity have dropped to their lowest level since December 2007.

Comments from respondents highlight that uncertainty related to Brexit is still impacting on the market and continues to affect buyer confidence.

However, respondents also point out that demand for starter-homes seems to be remaining buoyant.

Despite remaining political ambiguity, long-term predictions by surveyors are relatively positive.

The cost of residential property is expected to continue on an upward trajectory and over the next twelve months sales activity is expected to pick up.

“Clearly, some uncertainty remains in the market, but surveyors are pointing towards the continuing strong performance of the first-time buyer market,” said RICS residential property spokesman in Northern Ireland, Samuel Dickey.

“And, whilst the near-term outlook for prices and activity appears to be subdued, surveyors’ perspectives on the longer-term outlook is more upbeat.”

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said: “Some people are perhaps taking a wait and see approach before deciding on a move or purchase, but sales in the new build market in particular are currently quite strong and this is reflected in a steady demand for mortgages.

“With an increasing supply of new build properties reported to be coming onto the market, this also bodes well for first time buyer activity in the months ahead,” he added.