Confidence grows as house prices increase

A strong housing market with more affordability than other UK regions
A strong housing market with more affordability than other UK regions

A healthy performance by the housing market in the third quarter (Q3) of the year suggests people have become less concerned about Brexit and the lack of politcial progress, according to Ulster University’s latest Quarterly House Price Index report.

The index, produced in partnership with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Progressive Building Society, indicated an average increase of 5.8% between July - September 2017, with an average house price of £160,758, up 1.9% over the year.

Activity during the first six months of 2017 was characterised by sluggish and variable rates of price growth though underpinned by strong sales volumes. The firming up of price levels in this quarter suggests that the housing market is picking up in the second half of the year.

According to the report the number of first-time buyers has increased, however the reliance on the ‘bank of mum and dad’ remains a significant factor in these transactions.

“The latest survey shows a healthy performance during the third quarter, suggesting that concerns about uncertainty in the macro-economy, the potential impacts of Brexit and the lack of a functioning local Executive are having a diminishing effect on the private housing sector,” said lead researcher, UU professor Stanley McGreal.

“The survey highlights that average price levels are generally to the upside and that the volume of transactions remains at a high level.”

Michael Boyd, Progressive deputy CEO and finance director added: “The underlining outlook is that we have a strong housing market with more affordability than other regions of the UK.

“This has been reinforced by the 5.8% increase in property prices over the quarter.

“Whilst external pressures remain including the political vacuum, Brexit and the recent rise interest rates, the market remains resilient which supports a positive outlook for the months ahead.”

Karly Greene, head of research and equality at the Housing Executive, said: “The average sale price of just under £161,000 is in line with an overall trend for sustainable house price growth, and the number of transactions in the sample points towards a healthy level of activity in the market.”