Fewer homes available for sale expected to impact on sales and prices

Fewer new homes were listed on the market in Northern Ireland during August and surveyors expect this to have a knock-on effect on sales and prices in the next three months, according to the latest RICS and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey.

Whilst sales activity held up in August (with a net balance of +32% of respondents saying that there was an increase in newly agreed sales), surveyors expect this to moderate over the months ahead. A net balance of +4% of respondents said that they expect the number of sales to rise between August and October. This was significantly down on the net balance just a few months ago (+59 in May).

And with fewer properties becoming available for sale, respondents expect prices to continue to edge upwards due to the imbalance between supply and demand. A net balance of +38% of respondents expects prices to be higher in three months’ time than they are now.

Samuel Dickey, RICS Northern Ireland Residential Property Spokesman, says: “In many respects the market is normalising at the minute post Covid and post the Stamp Duty holiday. But whilst the market has eased relative to an exceptionally strong stretch earlier in the year, there are still many factors likely to drive a solid market going forward including supply and demand. Given the real shortfall in new listings becoming available, there remains strong competition amongst buyers, and this is maintaining a significant degree of upward pressure on house prices. What’s more, prices are expected to continue to climb higher over the year to come, albeit the pace of increase is likely to ease somewhat in the months ahead.” 

In terms of supply and demand, respondents pointed to buyer interest continuing to be strong in August, with a net balance of +19% of respondents indicating that there was a rise in new buyer enquiries in the month. However, with a net balance of -4% for instructions to sell, surveyors indicated that there was less stock available for them to choose from.

Terry Robb, Head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank, said: “We continue to see good demand and are responding to customers’ needs and wants. In addition to introducing our Green mortgage and our 95% mortgage earlier this year, we have added a Green Re-mortgage which offers a preferential interest rate to new or existing customers who are looking to re-mortgage an energy efficient property. We are the principal banking sponsor supporting COP26 in Glasgow this year and we want to act as a catalyst in supporting the reduction of the carbon footprint from residential properties.”

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