House prices in Northern Ireland are being pushed up by a limited supply of homes coming on the market, new figures indicate.
Prices in the region are rising at one of the fastest rates across the UK, according to the latest market survey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank.
The rate is established by asking surveyors in certain regions if prices are going up, down or remaining steady.
Only in East Anglia did more respondents report rising prices than in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland surveyors said new buyers were coming in to the market at a greater rate than properties are being put up for sale.
Local surveyors also recorded a positive response about the outlook for house prices in the next three months.
RICS Northern Ireland residential property spokesman Samuel Dickey said: “Surveyors are telling us that demand remained strong in the local housing market in June, whilst supply remains restricted. Almost inevitably, this is creating upward pressure on prices.
“As always, we would anticipate a lull in activity during July, but respondents remain relatively optimistic about sales over the next three-month period.”
Derek Wilson from Ulster Bank added: “With the first half of 2015 having drawn to a close, we’re seeing a positive picture for the local housing market, which has built momentum throughout the year – particularly in the last three months.”
It comes after a report from Halifax found that the average price of a UK property tipped over the £200,000 mark in June for the first time in its records, which date back to 1983.
The average UK house price is now £200,280, according to Halifax, having increased by 9.6% over the last year.
Demand from home buyers edged up for the second month in a row in June, with Northern Ireland, Scotland, the West Midlands and London seeing particularly firm upswings in buyer interest and the South East of England being the only region to see a fall in demand.
RICS said that across the rental sector, the demand and supply imbalance was also visible and was putting pressure on rents.
Surveyors expect both house prices and rents to increase by around 3% over the coming year and by around 4.8% a year over the next five years.
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said the expected rates of growth in house and rental prices in the medium term would exceed likely growth in wages. He said: “There had been some hope that the removal of political uncertainty following the general election would encourage more properties onto the market but the initial indications are that this is not proving to be the case.”
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Caption: Only in East Anglia did more respondents to the survey report rising prices than in Northern Ireland