House prices in Northern Ireland are the lowest in the UK – despite growing by 4.9% since last year, according to official figures.
The only region to lag behind Northern Ireland was Wales with a price rise of 4%, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed.
A snapshot of the buoyancy of the UK property market in December 2014 was published yesterday.
Northern Ireland had the lowest average house price at £142,000 – a full £360,000 lower than the average for London.
The average house price sale is £502,000 in the capital.
Property values in Northern Ireland have still got some way to climb before they reach pre-financial crisis levels. The ONS said that prices in Northern Ireland were around 45% below their peak in 2007.
Despite Northern Ireland having the lowest average house price in the UK, a leading estate agent has insisted that the property market here was enjoying a sustainable revival.
“Northern Ireland has always been a standalone market so I don’t think it can be compared to the rest of the UK,” said Conor Cooke, partner in Ulster Property Sales.
“The market is brisk at the moment, most houses are sold within four-to-six weeks for the asking price or above and people seem more confident for bidding for homes.
“The sense of frustration that has been evident has started to lift. It’s important to recall that no other region suffered the same drop in prices as we did in Northern Ireland, over 50% at its worst.”
A 4% increase in Northern Ireland prices was forecast by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors last week because of a lack of supply and an increase in the number of new buyer inquiries.
Beth Robinson, senior partner with Templeton Robinson, reported that there was a shortfall right across the market in house types.
“Demand is currently outstripping supply of the property available – we simply don’t have enough houses for what people want to buy,” she said.
“We recently have had 12 potential buyers for homes over the £1m market and it has been one of the best times for first-time buyers to get into market. I put it down to the real pent-up sense of frustration that many homeowners have felt over the last few years in wanting to move but not having enough confidence in buying and selling.
“However, I’m surprised to learn that our average house price is less that some of the northern regions of England, like the north east, as we had higher prices than that for many years. But it must be remembered that until recently that there was very little sold over the £1m price,” she added.
UK house prices increased by 9.8% in the year to December 2014, with London seeing the highest increase of 13.3%. In England, prices rose by 10.2%, 5.5% in Scotland and 4% in Wales.
Average House Prices in December 2014:
South East England: £339,000
UK (as a whole): £272,000
North West England: £175,000
North East England: £153,000
Northern Ireland: £142,000
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