Housing market slows but remains sustainable - UU

A slowing in the market reflects 'a UK-wide uncertainty over the economy'
A slowing in the market reflects 'a UK-wide uncertainty over the economy'

The housing market in the province remains “relatively healthy” despite weaker rates of price growth compared to the performance over previous quarters.

The latest Quarterly House Price Index report from Ulster University, produced in partnership with the NI Housing Executive and Progressive Building Society, reveals that between July- September 2018, the overall average house price was £161,948, up 1.5% over the year and measured over 2,091 transactions.

However, the report’s authors said the local market echoed a more cautious mood across the rest of the UK due to growing uncertainty around Brexit.

Overall, the analysis by price band is indicative of a relatively stable and still affordable housing market in Northern Ireland, with price spreads relatively unchanged over the quarter.

Semi-detached houses continue to be the dominant sector, accounting for one third of all transactions. This quarter the number of newly built properties is considerably reduced, down to 19% of sales, compared to 28% of transactions in the second quarter.

However the report notes that that purchasers were mostly looking for properties needing little more than cosmetic updating as deposits reduced surplus funds available.

“The latest survey of the health of the Northern Ireland housing market suggests a slowing down in the rate of price growth to 1.5% over the year compared to the higher levels of increase observed earlier this year,” said lead researcher, Dr Martin Hinch from UU.

“This reflects a trend recorded elsewhere in the UK and seems to capture present uncertainty in the wider economy.”

Michael Boyd, deputy CEO and finance director at Progressive said: “After strong growth in the first half of the year, the house market has consolidated with marginal increase in house prices of 1% compared to the second quarter of 2018.

“While there were weaker rates of price growth in the most recent quarter, overall the residential sector remains in a healthy position and the long term outlook is one of affordability where a sustainable local housing market can be maintained.”

Karly Greene, head of research at NIHE, which commissions the research, said: “The analysis points to a generally stable market, albeit with some variation by property type and location.

“The research also underlines the need for, and the value of, continued investment in the new and existing housing stock to maintain the supply of quality dwellings necessary for a healthy housing market and sustainable residential property ownership.”