NI housing market in growth as UK dips

The local market now appears to be more secure than the rest of the UK
The local market now appears to be more secure than the rest of the UK

The Northern Ireland housing market has become the most buoyant in the UK as first time buyer and buy to let sales remain strong in the province.

The data, from the latest Residential Market Survey for October, produced by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank indicates a healthy market despite a slow down in GB.

Whilst average UK house prices were reported to have dipped during the month, Northern Ireland the response from local surveyors indicates an ongoing increases in prices here.

A net balance of 55% of local respondents to the latest survey said that house prices increased. This was higher than in all other UK regions, followed by Scotland with a net balance of 44%.

Surveyors are also the most optimistic, looking forward. A net balance of 35% expect prices to rise in the next three months, while a net balance of 30% expect the number of sales to rise in the same period.

Most other regions expect prices and sales activity to fall or be broadly flat in the final quarter.

In terms of supply, the survey pointed to a slight rise in properties coming onto the market in Northern Ireland for the first time in five months.

“Interest from first time buyers and a strong rental have been two of the factors driving the Northern Ireland housing market, with first time buyers and investors both very active this year,” said RICS residential property spokesman, Samuel Dickey.

“Surveyors remain confident about the market, despite political and economic uncertainty, and 2018 is shaping up to have been a more positive picture for the housing market than perhaps was initially anticipated.”

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said: “As the survey indicates, demand remains relatively strong and we continue to see a good-pipeline of mortgage applications.

“Interest in the market remains firm from a broad range of mortgage purchasers including first time buyers, home movers and those remortgaging.”

(see page 19)