Red brick houses against an orange sky. Image used in the NI housing market bounces back after lockdown blog post
20 July 2020

NI housing market bounces back after lockdown


Estate agents in Northern Ireland have reported record viewing numbers and bumper sales since the reopening of the housing market last month.

The NI housing market was put on hold during the height of the Coronavirus lockdown. However, after a three month pause, it seems that buyer demand is soaring.

New practices have been introduced to keep both client and estate agent safe, including virtual viewings, valuations carried out using PPE and new regulations during physical viewings of a property.

Many individuals have been working from home over the last number of months and remote working is set to become the norm for the foreseeable future. Due to the changes in working environments, estate agents have been experiencing a huge demand for properties that have room to create an office space and an outdoor garden area.

Tiffany Brien, Associate Director of Simon Brien Residential, highlights that the demand is right across the market in terms of both price bands and geographical spread.

“During the lockdown, there was a phenomenal level of enquiries coming through via web enquiries and following on from virtual viewings – an area where we have invested in and which is being very well received by house buyers – particularly with new homes,” Miss Brien said.

“It is evident that many people made the decision that their house / apartment / garden was too small or maybe too large and many made the decision that they want to move post-lockdown, hence the pent-up demand.

“In the first three weeks of opening since lockdown, we have agreed 150 houses for sale, which would be one of our busiest periods in the past two years.

“There are also a lot of requests for valuations which again is positive as many people want to get their houses on the market in order to prepare for a move, so it is likely that there will be more choice for house buyers.

“Interest rates are likely to be low for a considerable period so buyers will be able to avail of favourable two and five year mortgage products.

“In addition, more lenders are now returning to the market with 90% mortgage products.”

Miss Brien added that the recent announcement of a stamp duty holiday on properties up to £500,000 will be a helpful hand for house buyers with a saving of £15,000 on a £500,000 purchase.

Art O’Hagan, Managing Director of estate agency CPS, shares a similar story and has had a “a very buoyant four weeks”.

“We’ve seen lots of sales and genuine buyers looking to move so the pent-up demand has certainly been there,” he said.

“Anything we have with larger gardens, semi-rural locations and improved Wi-Fi quality for those continuing to work from home has got between five and ten percent above market value.

“We have had 92 sales agreed to date and over 100 viewings in the diary for this coming week.”

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