Housing market improves despite EU referendum vote, estate agents report

Property prices.
Property prices.

Prices in the Northern Ireland housing market improved last month despite the EU referendum vote, estate agents said.

But the number of new buyers and people wanting to sell fell and activity is expected to remain subdued over the coming months.

With supply already limited and fewer properties coming on to the market, prices are expected to edge up slightly, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said.

Residential property spokesman Samuel Dickey said: “Last month, we said that only when the initial shock of the referendum result passed would we get a clearer picture of how the market is really faring.

“One month on, sentiment has moved back somewhat.

“However, with some economic uncertainty remaining, it is not surprising if some will remain cautious.

“For now, there are fewer buyers and sellers in the market, which could create a more subdued sales picture.”

The headline prices improved in the latest RICS and Ulster Bank Residential Market survey having dropped sharply in June, when data was gathered immediately after the EU referendum result.

Expectations about prices also improved although sales predictions remained flat.

The tally of new buyers decreased for the fourth month in a row, although the rate at which they are falling has slowed.

Sean Murphy, a regional managing director at Ulster Bank, said: “The imbalance between supply and demand in key population centres remains one of the main characteristics of the market.

“Unsurprisingly, there is uncertainty in the wider economy, as the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland Purchasing Managers’ Index highlighted earlier this week, and the housing market cannot be immune.

“However, with the Bank of England base rate now further reduced, mortgage rates are at a historic low.”