Storey welcomes signs of a balanced housing market

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Finance Minister Mervyn Storey MLA has welcomed an encouraging period in Northern Ireland’s housing market with steady price growth combined with continuing affordability.

Mr Storey’s comments came with the publication of the latest Northern Ireland Residential Property Price Index (NI RPPI), produced by the Department of Finance and Personnel’s Land & Property Services (LPS) in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency (NISRA).

Produced on a quarterly basis, the research examines every sale across the province using data from HM Revenue & Customs and from LPS providing the most reliable picture of individual sectors with the propoerty market across Northern Ireland as well as the state of the market as a whole.

Commenting on the latest report, the Minister said: “The figures in the report for the fourth quarter of 2015 show a 1% quarterly increase in the Index – with small variations between property types.

“The analysis demonstrates that, viewed over the 12 month period, residential property prices have again shown steady progress, with an annual increase of 7%.

“The analysis at council level shows annual increases of between 3% and 13% across all district council areas.”

Importantly, in tandem with price increases, he sai d the data showed the market exhibiting a healthy balance with annual earnings.

“Looking back on the figures for 2015, it is encouraging to see evidence that we have an affordable housing market in Northern Ireland with an improved relationship where prices are 4.3 times earnings in 2015, compared to 4.5 in 2014, and especially compared to the figure of 9.1 in 2007.”

Transaction volumes in this quarter have once again remained reasonably steady, with over 5,000 residential properties sold.

“This healthy level of activity has now been maintained for the last two years, and is almost double the level experienced in the years 2008 to 2011.

“I believe there is continued confidence in our housing market, which is encouraging for the province’s economy as a whole.”