New buyer demand dips for first time in four years

House prices are expected to carry on rising despite the dip in demand
House prices are expected to carry on rising despite the dip in demand

Northern Ireland house prices are continuing to rise despite a fall in new buyer enquiries, according to the latest RICS and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey.

The April survey shows demand cooling off following a period of increased activity in some segments of the market due to buyers bringing forward transactions to beat the introduction of an impending change to stamp duty at the beginning of April.

Indeed April saw the first fall in new buyer enquiries reported in some 50 months, albeit a marginal one (a net balance of -5 percent).

However, surveyors are reporting that prices were up in April, with a net balance of +56 percent of respondents reporting increasing values. Local surveyors also expect Northern Ireland house prices and sales to rise marginally over the three months ahead.

“The changes in stamp duty have seen new buyer enquiries fall back marginally,” said RICS residential property Spokesman, Samuel Dickey.

“However, we are also seeing no real growth in new instructions, and these tight supply conditions are seeing price momentum holding firm.

“Sales activity is also expected to remain relatively strong in the three months head.”

Sean Murphy, Ulster Bank regional managing director for branch and private banking said: “A range of indicators have pointed to an ongoing recovery in the local housing market, with the latest ONS Index for instance reporting year-on-year price growth of 2.4 percent. Mortgage activity at Ulster Bank remains strong and we expect to continue that in the months ahead.