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RICS and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey, March 2021

New buyer enquiries in Northern Ireland rose in March and sales activity continued to be strong, according to the latest RICS and Ulster Bank NI Residential Market Survey.

Download the RICS and Ulster Bank NI Residential Market Survey here

A net balance of +60% of respondents said that there was an increase in the number of houses sold last month, and a net balance of 100% said that the number of enquiries from new buyers rose.

This was the highest net balance recorded for new buyer enquiries in the survey’s history, dating back almost 15 years.

Consequently, surveyors remain confident about the outlook for sales activity, with a net balance of +63% of respondents saying that they expect the number of homes sold to increase over the next three months.

RICS and Ulster Bank NI Residential Market Survey

In addition to a rise in sales last month, there was also an increase in the number of properties becoming available for sale. A net balance of 30% of respondents said that there were more instructions to sell in March than in the previous month. However, anecdotally respondents point to the supply of homes for sale not being sufficient to meet demand.

When it comes to prices, there continued to be upward pressure, something that surveyors expect to continue over the three months ahead. A net balance of 75% reported rising prices in March, whilst a net balance of 71% expects rising prices between April and June.

Samuel Dickey, RICS Northern Ireland Residential Property Spokesman, says: “The results from the latest RICS and Ulster Bank NI Residential Market Survey suggest the decision by the Chancellor to extend the stamp duty break and then taper its expiry has had some impact on demand and activity. However, underlying demand was already strong with people making up for lost ground from last year, and many seeking to move for more space. The survey’s indicators suggest that demand will also remain strong in the months ahead. One of the concerns in the market though continues to be limited supply.”

Terry Robb, Head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank, said: “March completed a strong quarter for mortgage demand. Despite the restrictions in place during the quarter, people have continued to apply for mortgages and move forward with home purchases and house moves; and of course there are remortgages happening as well. Looking to the three months ahead, our pipeline suggests that mortgage activity will continue to be strong.”