HOUSES are ‘officially’ selling again in Northern Ireland, a leading residential estate agent claimed today.
Indeed Templeton Robinson revealed sales of new and re-sale homes reached 75 across its five locations in Greater Belfast and North Down during the past four weeks, signalling a ‘positive’ start to the new year.
Founding Partner, Keith Mitchell, said today he believed confidence was slowly returning to the province’s housing market after a period of acute readjustment in property values.
“We are not alone in seeing a strong uplift across all of our branches. Many other agents are experiencing the same trends,” he said.
Templeton Robinson say the fact their January sales have been almost equally split between new build and re-sale properties is evidence that re-sale homes in Northern Ireland will sell if vendors set realistic asking prices.
“It has been well documented recently how well certain new build schemes have been selling as a result of developers reducing asking prices quite dramatically to reflect the current market. In particular we have seen strong sales’ levels in developments such as Ballantine Garden Village, Lisburn; Belsize Meadows, Lisburn; Stonebridge in Bangor and Wellington Square in South Belfast. However, what has added to the positive new year trend is the fact that re-sale vendors are now beginning to realise if their asking prices are around 30% less than the summer 07 peak there are buyers out there willing to purchase.”
Mr Mitchell claimed a combination of interest rate cuts; innovative sales’ techniques and price re-alignment had contributed to the sharp rise in January sales.
“Our advice to potential purchasers is to ensure the asking price for their desired property reflects the summer 07 figure less around 30%, but also to realise that vendors cannot be expected to reduce substantially further than that.”
The leading estate agent also urged the public to discard ‘general’ UK housing reports that had the potential to damage the ‘fragile’ confidence now developing in the Northern Ireland market.
“It is really important to note that many of these reports are based on historical information, for example, the last quarter in 08 which is when the market was really on its knees. Yes it is a fact that the market had pretty much collapsed then – but things have now very clearly stabilised and are indeed in recovery.”
He also criticised those who suggested there could be further property price reductions in the local market.
“The situation in England, Scotland and Wales has been very different to that in Northern Ireland. In England, Scotland and Wales values rose over a longer period of time and they will therefore naturally take longer to readjust. However, in Northern Ireland our prices exploded over a short period of time and have reduced just as quickly. In our view there is therefore no basis to suggest our values will become further depressed. The reason houses are beginning to sell is precisely due to the fact the public is realising the market has bottomed out.
“The re-sale market is slowly catching up with the new reality and every day online sites such as Property News provide proof of this with price reductions being emailed to agency databases. As far as we are concerned that is a good sign and a very necessary step in order for the market to get back to ‘real’ normality, in other words, pre the boom of 07.”