The average house price in Northern Ireland has fallen below £150,000 for the first time in nearly five years, according to University of Ulster research.The latest University of Ulster Quarterly House Price Index - produced in partnership with Bank of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive - covered the third quarter of 2010 and put the average overall price at £148,243.
This represented a weighted rate of annual decline of 7.6%.
The survey said that the tentative recovery in house prices in the first half of this year had been put on hold, or even reversed.
The authors of the report - Professor Alastair Adair, Professor Stanley McGreal and Dr David McIlhatton - said: "The significant fall in house prices stems from a current lack of confidence in the market possibly reflecting concerns about public spending cuts and their impact on jobs in a region highly dependent on public sector employment."
The price statistics are based on 795 transactions in the third quarter of 2010, a figure well down on the second quarter volume of 1009 transactions.
Alan Bridle, UK Economist, Bank of Ireland, said: “With the average price below £150,000 for the first time since the last quarter of 2005, it is clear the residential market is still facing a number of challenges.
”Potential buyers remain discouraged by uncertainty over economic prospects and in terms of supply there is no shortage of houses available to buy or to rent. “A particular theme of this survey is that the previously resilient market in Belfast has been less strong in the third quarter – and turnover of properties remains weak by historic standards.”
The survey indicated that the market is becoming increasingly affordable, with more than a quarter of houses selling at or below £100,000. Collectively, nearly two thirds of the total sold at £150,000 or below.
The Housing Executive’s Head of Research, Joe Frey, commented: “Given the fragility of Northern Ireland’s economy and the imminent cuts in public expenditure, it is little wonder that the housing market is turning down again. However, despite the resultant lower house prices, affordability will remain a difficult issue for first time buyers for as long as banks and building societies continue to allocate mortgages on the basis of very restrictive lending criteria.” House Price Index The long-term House Price Index, calculated relative to the base quarter for the survey in 1984, declined to 560.7. The index has dropped significantly again after stabilising for several quarters. The authors say it is uncertain whether this is a blip in the recovery or indicative of a further period of contraction.
Property Types Performance by property sector in general reflected the overall decline, although bungalows performed better than others. The average price for apartments fell by 17% over a year to £119,716, for semi-detached houses it fell by 12.5% to £130,956, for detached houses by 7% to £252,581 and for terraced/townhouses by 5.6% to £107,407. Semi-detached bungalows rose by 10.6% to £131,439 and detached bungalows increased by 4.2% to £195,636.
Regional performance At regional level, the picture in the third quarter was similar to the overall Northern Ireland level, with average prices lower in most areas.
In Belfast the average price of housing fell substantially by 21.7% over the year to £138,131. All property types showed declines. The highest priced city location was south Belfast where the average fell sharply to £183,560, followed by the east (£174,459), west (£125,096) and north (£97,293).
North Down’s average house price of £179,263 was down 11.7% over the year, in contrast to the rises in recent surveys. Terraced/townhouses fell by 26.6% to £107,263 but detached houses performed relatively better with a fall of just 4.2%.
The average house price in Lisburn fell by 13.5% over the year, reversing the growth seen in the second quarter. Apartments fell the most, down 21.5% to £106,648, but semi-detached houses went up by 25% to £159,945.
In East Antrim the overall average price was up 4.8% over the year, driven mainly by terraced/townhouses rising by 6.3% to £141,082. In contrast, apartments were down by 15.3% to £110,445.
In Antrim/Ballymena the overall average price of £137,602 represents a significant annual decline of 19.7% although prices were up over second quarter levels. Annual performance was variable, with terraced/townhouses rising by 18.1% to £114,167 but with semi-detached houses falling 13.7% to £119,625.
For the Coleraine/Limavady/North Coast region the overall average price of £153,884 was down over the year by 7.6%. Some property types increased – semi-detached houses went up 9.2% to £141,450 – while others declined, such as detached houses down by 7% to £240,167.
For Derry/Strabane the overall average of £147,692 was up by 0.5% over the year. Compared to the second quarter of this year, prices have generally increased and were bolstered by the detached house market where the average price was £195,350.
The overall average price for Mid-Ulster was down 9% over the year to £130,368. This was an improvement over the second quarter which had shown an annual decline of 18.5%. Most property types fell over the year, with terraced/townhouses down by 25.3% to £77,909. Semi-detached houses at £116,262 were basically unchanged over the year.
In Enniskillen/Fermanagh/South Tyrone the overall average price fell by 15% over the year to £125,451. Variable market conditions prevailed in this area with semi-detached houses down by 3.9% to £119,950 but with detached bungalows rising by 10% to £164,286.
For Craigavon/Armagh the overall average price increased by 23% over the year to £145,893 but the sample size was low, making precise analysis difficult. The semi-detached market improved significantly to an average of £126,800.
In Mid & South Down, the average price of £178,177 was up by 11.3% over the year. While the market appeared to be improving, property types fared differently, with detached houses falling by 16.4% to £252,353 while terraced/townhouses rose by 12.2% to £129,607.
Ends Notes to Editors: TABLES
Performance by Property Type Q3 2010 Market sectorAnnual changeAverage Price Quarter 3Terraced/townhouse-5.6%£107,407Semi-detached house-12.5%£130,956Detached house-7.0%£252,581Semi-detached bungalow10.6%£131,439Detached bungalow4.2%£195,636Apartment-17.1%£119,716 Average house price by region Q3 2010 Location Average Price Quarter 3Northern Ireland -All£148,243Belfast - All£138,131North Belfast£97,293South Belfast£183,560East Belfast£174,459West Belfast£125,096North Down£179,263Lisburn£143,170East Antrim£141,082L'derry/Strabane£147,692Antrim/Ballymena£137,602Coleraine/Limavady/N. Coast£153,884Enniskillen/Fermanagh/S.Tyrone£125,451Mid Ulster£130,368Mid & South Down£178,177Craigavon/Armagh£145,893
Media contacts : For University of Ulster: Trina Porter or Sinead Johnson, Press Office, University of Ulster +44 (0) 890366178.
For Bank of Ireland: Alan Watson or Catherine Agnew SMARTS +44 (0)28 9039 5500 or Julie Sherlock, Bank of Ireland +44 (0)28 9043 3520.
For NIHE: Imelda McGrath or Jim Murray +44 (0) 28 9031 8700.