The latest Housing Survey report from the University of Ulster, in partnership with Bank of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, provides both confirmation that conditions in the local housing market remained very challenging in the three months to the end of March 09 while also carrying the hint and expectation of more positive news to follow in future surveys.
The report shows that while it is unlikely that the property market has yet reached the absolute trough in the price cycle, with the notable exception of the new build segment, the restoration of affordable housing in Northern Ireland is well advanced.
With an average of £157,000, prices are now back at the pre-property boom levels of early 2006. The highest average price was in North Down – £177,785 – while the lowest was in the Craigavon/Armagh area – £131,703.
Commenting on the findings of the report, Alan Bridle,Head of Economics & Research, with Bank of Ireland noted ‘It is encouraging to report market sources indicating a considerable uplift in enquiries and viewings in recent weeks – in some cases up by around 30% in comparison to the same period in 2008′
New Builds and Resale Homes
One of the interesting features of the results of the latest survey is the dichotomy between activity levels in the new build segment (over 40% of sales in the report) and the resale market for older stock which may reflect the series of developer initiatives designed to stimulate the market.