Improvements in the local housing market gained momentum in September, according to the latest RICS and Ulster Bank Housing Market Survey for Northern Ireland.
The survey reported its strongest reading for prices since July 2007, marking September the fourth successive month that it has pointed to rising prices.
A net balance of 60% of respondents to the survey said that prices were up in the three months to the end of September. No respondents said that prices had fallen in the period.
This follows positive readings in the June, July and August surveys – the first time since the property price peak that there has been four months in a row of a price balance above zero.
Northern Ireland’s experience in September was in keeping with the experience across the UK, where all regions reported positive data for prices – London (92%) and the South East (72%) leading the way.
RICS Northern Ireland housing spokesman, Tom McClelland, says that prices in Northern Ireland are rising from a low base and that they are still some 50% below peak, unlike other UK regions.
“On the whole, the summer was a positive one for the Northern Ireland housing market, and that trend continued into September. The recovery from the price collapse that occurred post summer 2007 will be a long and slow one. There will also be bumps along the way. However, there is growing evidence to suggest that it is at least properly underway,” he continues.
Derek Wilson, Head of Lending Products at Ulster Bank, says: “Increased first time buyer activity is a key indicator of a growing confidence which we would expect to see extending to the wider market. The perception of better value in property prices generally, coupled with historically low mortgage rates, can only add to that confidence. We recently widened our mortgage range to offer greater customer choice. This includes our lowest ever fixed rate and a first time buyer exclusive. We welcome demand for our mortgages from all sectors of the market”.