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Northern Ireland housing market slows but remains sustainable

The latest Quarterly House Price Index report from Ulster University reveals a relatively healthy housing market despite weaker rates of price growth compared to the strong performance over recent quarters.

Ulster University’s research is produced in partnership with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Progressive Building Society.

Analysing the performance of the Northern Ireland housing market between July- September 2018, the report reveals an overall average house price of £161,948, up 1.5% over the year. The volume of transactions in the survey is 2,091.

Reflecting the consolidation of average price levels in the NI housing market, the distribution of sale prices is highly similar to the previous quarter; the share of lower priced properties at or below £100,000 is 23% and properties sold at or below £150,000 account for 60% of transactions. Overall, the analysis by price band is indicative of a relatively stable and still affordable housing market in Northern Ireland, with price spreads relatively unchanged over the quarter.

Semi-detached houses continue to be the dominant sector, accounting for one third of all transactions. This quarter the number of newly built properties is considerably reduced, down to 19% of sales, compared to 28% of transactions in the second quarter.

Estate agents noted that the top and bottom ends of the market were strong and that fewer buy to let sales were taking place. It was also apparent that purchasers were, in the main, looking for properties requiring little repairs apart from cosmetic updating as deposit requirements frequently meant little available surplus funds on the parts of buyers.

Lead researcher, Dr Martin Hinch from Ulster University said:

"The latest survey of the health of the Northern Ireland housing market suggests a slowing down in the rate of price growth to 1.5% over the year compared to the higher levels of increase observed earlier this year. This reflects a trend recorded elsewhere in the UK and seems to capture present uncertainty in the wider economy"

Commenting on the report Michael Boyd, Deputy Chief Executive and Finance Director, Progressive Building Society said:

“After strong growth in the first half of the year, the Northern Ireland house market has consolidated with marginal increase in house prices of 1% compared to the second quarter of 2018. While there were weaker rates of price growth in the most recent quarter, overall the Northern Ireland residential sector remains in a healthy position and the long term outlook is one of affordability were a sustainable local housing market can be maintained.”

Karly Greene, Head of Research at the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, which commissions the research, said:

“The analysis points to a generally stable market, albeit with some variation by property type and location.  The research also underlines the need for, and the value of, continued investment in the new and existing housing stock to maintain the supply of quality dwellings necessary for a healthy housing market and sustainable residential property ownership.”

You can read the full report here: https://www.ulster.ac.uk/research/institutes/built-environment/centres/research-property-planning/housing-market-reports/house-price-index