Housing market resilient despite headwinds

Healthy employment and continuing affordability are helping the market
Healthy employment and continuing affordability are helping the market

The housing market is enjoying sustainable and resilient annual price growth with the level of transactions remaining healthy, according to the latest Quarterly House Price Index report from Ulster University, though quarterly growth is more subdued than earlier in 2018, reflecting similar conditions to the previous quarter as Brexit concerns were identified as a growing issue.

Produced in partnership with Progressive Building Society and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the latest UU data analyses the performance of the local housing market between October- December 2018.

It shows an overall average house price of £163,165, up 4.9% over the year and guaged across 1,954 transactions.

Agents’ observations over the period, it said, were dominated by the impending Brexit deadline with a strong view that all parties are collectively holding off from any significant decisions relating to property transactions until the outcome of the ongoing Brexit negotiations has been decided.

“Annual increase for 2018 is resilient at 4.9% however quarterly growth is considerably more moderate, with very little change in overall average price during the last three months of the year,” said lead researcher, Dr Martin Hinch from UU.

“This is consistent with housing markets elsewhere within the UK and would appear to reflect the high levels of political and economic uncertainty both in Northern Ireland and the wider economy.”

Michael Boyd, deputy CEO and finance director at the Progressive said: “The well documented current political challenges may have impacted vendors’ decision making this quarter, resulting in suppressed sales with seasonality also playing a factor. However, with unemployment rates below the UK average and continued affordability, the housing market is in a healthy place.”