House sales in Northern Ireland down by 20% in the first half of 2023
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The information from HM Revenue and Customs showed there were 11,030 sales in the first six months of the year compared to 13,810 in the same period last year.
It was the slowest start to NI house sales in a year since 2015 - apart from 2020, when the rate was disrupted by Covid-19.
The slowing rate of house sales across the UK is likely to have been influenced by rising interest rates, which have made mortgages less affordable. However, the figures suggest the volume of sales may have begun to pick up again in June, the BBC reported.
It was the busiest month of 2023 so far with 2,250 house sales, an increase of 24% in May and 8% below June 2022.
However, HMRC cautioned that the month-on-month increase may be distorted because there were a higher number of working days in June than in May.
The most recent official data suggests house prices in Northern Ireland saw their second consecutive quarterly fall in the first quarter of 2023.
The official House Price Index saw a 1.8% decline compared to the final quarter of 2022 giving an average price of £172,000. The next official price data is due to be published in the middle of August.
Also this week, official data suggested that Northern Ireland has the most affordable houses in the UK.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) compared average household disposable incomes to average house prices in 2022.
It found that in Northern Ireland, the average house cost 5.1 times average annual incomes.
In Scotland the ratio was 5.3, in Wales it was 6.4 and in England it was 8.4.
At the peak of NI's housing bubble in 2008 it was the UK's least affordable regional housing market, but since 2012 has usually been the most affordable.
In 2008, the incomes to house price ratio in Northern Ireland was 9.29, falling to 4.46 in 2013.
The ONS research also found that in 2022 in England, only households in the top 10% of income could afford an average home with fewer than five years of income - it was the top 30% in Wales and top 40% in Scotland and NI.