The Northern Ireland housing market look sets to outperform the rest of the UK over the coming months with rising prices, coupled with rising demand from potential buyers, according to a new survey.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey highlights that members in Northern Ireland were more confident regarding the housing market than others in the UK as a whole.
However, it does highlight that this positive outlook could be affected by economic conditions such as an increase in rates or supply problems.
In January, new buyer enquiries, instructions and sales were down throughout the UK. However, in Northern Ireland, new buyer enquiries were rising.
The Office for National Statistics revealed separate figures that highlighted the average house price in Northern Ireland now stands at £132,000, an increase of 6% year-on-year. This statistic uncovers that Northern Ireland has the highest rate of house price growth in the UK.
Samuel Dickey, RICS residential property spokesman in Northern Ireland, highlighted: “The picture presented of the market in Northern Ireland is considerably more positive than in some other UK regions, with prices here reported to be rising and a growing number of potential new buyers active in the market.
“Surveyors are also relatively positive about the outlook, but there are a number of factors that could influence these outcomes, including a rise in interest rates, a shortage of supply and wider economic conditions.
“The increased cost of building materials combined with demand for higher quality homes will also act to make new-build properties more expensive.”
Managing director for personal banking at Ulster Bank, Sean Murphy, said: “Our own experience suggests that this positive activity trend is continuing, so it is not surprising that the local housing market remains relatively buoyant.
“There’s no doubt that there are economic challenges ahead for 2018, including rising inflation, but the evidence suggests that people continue to want to own their own home and that the outlook for the market among surveyors remains quite upbeat.”
The Executive Office’s Northern Ireland housing bulletin for July to September last year highlighted that 1,616 new homes were completed during the quarter, an increase of 4.3% on the same quarter in 2016.
However, over the same period, there was also a decline in new dwelling starts of 14.9% from 2,024 to 1,723.
As a whole, the figures from the National House Building Council for 2017 illustrates a 7% rise in new home starts for the year, from 3,178 to 3,396.