Buoyant NI housing market contrasts with other UK regions

The latest RICS report highlights significant interest in new build homes and in rural over urban locations
The latest RICS report highlights significant interest in new build homes and in rural over urban locations

The housing market in Northern Ireland remained buoyant in August reflecting a general confidence in the economy according to new figures from the sector.

Coming several days after the Ulster Bank PMI report indicating strong business acitivity in key ahat Northern Ireland business activity grew strongly in certain secors last month, the latest Residential Market Survey from the Royal Inistitute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reports that Northern Ireland recorded the strongest growth across the UK for house prices, with respondents also more upbeat on the outlook.

However, the survey also reports anecdotal evidence suggesting different levels of sctivity based on price and favouring properties below £250,000.

“Overall, the latest survey points a positive picture in terms of the trajectory of activity and the outlook,” said RICS residential property spokesman, Samuel Dickey.

“As ever, though, there are markets within markets. Different parts of Northern Ireland are more buoyant than others and there are variations between different property types and levels of the market.

Highlighting those variations, he said, was the “significant” rise in interest in new build homes over existing or resold housing stock, and a rise in average prices in rural areas of 6.3% in the past year, compared to 3.7% for urban areas.

Sean Murphy, managing director for personal banking at Ulster Bank said: “This is the latest piece of strong economic data for Northern Ireland, following the Ulster Bank PMI for August, which recorded the strongest rate of private sector output growth this year.

“There are no doubt challenges in the economy, including rising inflation, but the latest survey highlights that people continue to want to own their own home and that the outlook for the market amongst surveyors remains quite upbeat.”

The main findings of the survey include a headline price balance for Northern Ireland of +51%, meaning that 51% more surveyors said that prices rose in the past three months than those who said they fell.

The price expectations balance, at +39%, rebounded from a more modest reading the previous month, while sales expectations data at +61% was the most positive in the UK.

The new buyer enquiries balance was positive for the 12th month in succession at +36%.

The new instructions to sell balance was +19%, the most positive in four months, but coming off a low base.

In terms of newly agreed sales, the net balance was +28% in August compared with +11% in July.