Buyers return to property market after EU vote uncertainty


Buyers are returning to the Northern Ireland property market after a period of EU referendum uncertainty but they are being hampered by lack of supply, a new survey has indicated.

The latest analysis of house purchasing trends in the region recorded an increase in home buyer enquiries in October - the second successive month of upward movement after five months of decline prior to and after June’s historic Brexit vote.

But the joint Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank survey also noted a fall in the number of new properties coming on to the market last month.

October was the third month in the last four to record fewer “for sale” signs going up.

That was in line with a broader trend of falling supply witnessed for more than two years.

The report said the consequence of increased demand tallying with fewer homes on the market was an expectation that house prices will continue to edge up in the coming three months, despite acknowledged uncertainty around the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

RICS’s residential property spokesman, Samuel Dickey, said there was a need to address the housing supply issue.

“The dire shortage of available housing in Northern Ireland is continuing to push prices upwards, regardless of the uncertainty linked to the ongoing discussions surrounding Brexit,” he said.

“We need to see measures put in place to increase housing supply. This is a vital part of addressing long term economic and social need in Northern Ireland.”

Sean Murphy, from Ulster Bank, added: “With a very low interest rate environment, it is an affordable time to borrow, and we are seeing a growing number of mortgage enquiries.”