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Outlook for Northern Ireland’s housing market remains positive

  • Confidence in Northern Ireland’s housing market remains higher than elsewhere in the UK, according to the latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey.

    A net balance of +64% of Northern Ireland surveyors responding to the July survey expects to see an increase in the number of houses sold over the next three months, while a net balance of +58% expect a rise in activity over the year ahead – the highest rise in the UK.

    This is in contrast to other regions, particularly London, where sales expectations are in negative territory regarding the next 12 months.

    Northern Ireland house prices have also continued to move upwards according to respondents, with a net balance of +60% of surveyors here saying that they had seen a rise in the past three months. This was the highest price balance in the UK, and the highest recorded here in almost three years.

    Northern Ireland surveyors also remain positive about the outlook for prices in the coming months with a net balance of 36% saying they expect a rise in the next quarter and a net balance of 77% saying they expect house prices to be higher this time next year.

    Supply in the market though remains an issue according to the survey. July’s respondents point to a marginal fall in new instructions to sell (a net balance of -4% of respondents).

    Meanwhile, the data for new buyer enquiries and newly agreed sales rose. A net balance of +25% of surveyors said that they had seen more newly agreed sales compared with last month.

    RICS Residential Property Spokesman, Samuel Dickey, said: “Unlike in other parts of the UK, surveyors in Northern Ireland are seeing prices rising and are remain confident about the outlook. With houses in Northern Ireland more affordable than elsewhere, people continue to want to buy their own home. The main challenge though is that there are not enough properties to meet the demand.”

    Terry Robb, Head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank, said: “At Ulster Bank we continue to see strong demand from first time buyers, those seeking to remortgage, and people moving home. It’s clear that Northern Ireland’s housing market continues to display more positive sentiment than the UK average. Despite the recent increase in interest rates by the Bank of England, mortgage rates remain at low levels historically and we anticipate good demand through the remainder of the year.”

    The man findings of the survey were:

    The headline price balance for Northern Ireland was +60% in the latest survey, meaning that 60% more surveyors said prices rose in the past three months than those who said they fell.

    The price expectations balance at 36% for the next three months remains positive while sales expectations data (with a net balance of 64%) for this period is the highest in the UK.

    A net balance of +25% of surveyors said that newly agreed sales grew.

    There was an increase in new buyer enquiries according to a net balance of +26% of respondents. New instructions to sell fell marginally (according to a net balance of -4% of respondents).

    A net balance of +77% of respondents expects prices to rise in the next three months.

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