Housing confidence after Brexit vote falls to make three-year low, analysts report

File photo dated 27/3/2015 of a new houses under construction.
File photo dated 27/3/2015 of a new houses under construction.

Confidence in the Northern Ireland housing market has hit a three-year low following the Brexit vote, analysts said.

The uncertainty has combined with the higher stamp duty on investment property purchases to dampen expectations, according to chartered surveyors.

New buyer enquiries at estate agents fell for the third month in a row and there was little growth in the number of sellers.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) spokesman Samuel Dickey said: “It is not surprising that the uncertainty in the wider economy is impacting on housing market sentiment in some areas.

“However, only after the initial shock of the past couple of weeks has passed will we get a clearer picture of how the market is faring.

“A lack of supply has characterised the Northern Ireland housing market in recent years, particularly in Greater Belfast and this should continue to be a factor.”

The residential market survey was carried out by the RICS and Ulster Bank.

It said the overall price balance for Northern Ireland, calculated by comparing the number of surveyors expecting growth or slump in the housing market, was still positive but had fallen to its lowest level in more than three years.

Expectations for prices over the next three months also diminished.

Sean Murphy, regional managing director in charge of branch and private banking at Ulster Bank, said the first half of the year saw relatively strong demand.

“And the imbalance between supply and demand in key population centres put upward pressure on prices.

“Unsurprisingly, there is uncertainty in the wider economy and the housing market cannot be immune.

“However, we continue to see good mortgage demand from homebuyers, and the key thing for them remains to secure finance that is affordable and meets their own circumstances.”