NI Housing Market update

Northern Ireland housing market to start year in “growth mode”

Housing Market


The indicator tracking house sales in Northern Ireland stabilised in December 2016, but the expectation is for activity to resume an upward trend in the three months ahead, according to the latest RICS and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey for Northern Ireland.

Main findings

  • The headline price balance for Northern Ireland was +38 in the latest survey, meaning that 38% more surveyors said that prices rose in the past three months than those who said they fell.
  • The price expectations balance at +25, remains in positive territory for the sixth consecutive month. Meanwhile, sales expectations data (+25) remains healthy.
  • The new buyer enquiries balance was positive for the fourth month in succession at +15. The new instructions balance was flat (+1)

Supply still low as prices edge upwards

Prices are set to edge upwards over the first quarter, following a rise at the end of the year. However, supply remains the key concern, with instructions to sell broadly remaining flat in December, meaning that the measure capturing new stock coming to the market has failed to show growth in four of the past six months. On the other hand, the survey suggests that the number of new buyers coming onto the market continued to increase, pointing to an ongoing gap between supply and demand.

“We have forecast that house prices in the UK will rise by around 3% this year and we anticipate a similar growth trajectory in Northern Ireland. 2017 will be a year of economic challenges, linked to political events, but the fact that supply isn’t currently meeting demand should lead to prices edging upwards, while transaction activity in 2017 is expected to be stable”.

Samuel Dickey, RICS Residential Property Spokesman

“2016 saw events of considerable significance for the housing market, including changes in stamp duty and the EU Referendum, which combined to impact upon confidence and activity in the middle of the year. The Northern Ireland housing market enters 2017 with the anticipation of growth in both prices and transactions. On our own expectation at Ulster Bank is for strong mortgage demand, with the ongoing, low interest rate environment and peoples’ desire to own their own home”.

Sean Murphy, Managing Director, Branch Banking at Ulster Bank

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