NI housing market outlook remains ‘relatively buoyant’

Several new housing developments have been announced this year but supply remains slow
Several new housing developments have been announced this year but supply remains slow

The outlook for the Northern Ireland housing market remains more buoyant than other UK regions despite an apparent slowdown in the market last month according to the the latest industry figures.

Despite recent announcements of housing developments, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said anecdotal information from members suggested an ongoing shortage of housing stock was helping to sustain prices.

The Residential market Survey for September from RICS and Ulster Bank reports that the province has the highest balance of respondents expecting prices and sales activity to increase in the next three months.

The balance of surveyors saying that prices rose in the past three months was also significantly higher in Northern Ireland than the UK average.

However, there was a softening in the data for new buyer enquiries, newly agreed sales, and new instructions to sell.

“Overall, the latest survey paints a relatively upbeat picture for the Northern Ireland housing market,” said RICS residential property spokesman Samuel Dickey.

“Indeed, Northern Ireland and Scotland are the only parts of the UK where surveyors are confident that prices will rise meaningfully over the near-term.”

With key indicators for the local economy continuing to show strong growth in the private sector, he said the level of optimism was perhaps unsurprising.

“The one key challenge, though, remains supply with surveyors continuing to indicate that availability of stock remains a problem.”

Sean Murphy, managing director for personal banking at Ulster Bank said: “As we move into the final quarter of 2017, what is clear is that this year to date has been a reasonably positive one for the Northern Ireland housing market. The latest data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders showed that the number of loans for home purchase was up 15 percent in the second quarter of the year compared to last year. Our own experience at Ulster Bank suggests that this positive activity trend continued into the third quarter, and surveyors remain confident in relation to the outlook for the final three months of the year.”