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House prices edge upwards: RICS and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey

House prices in Northern Ireland have continued to rise despite evidence of more caution in the market, according to the RICS and Ulster Bank Northern Ireland Residential Market Survey for June.

Indeed, the headline price balance in the latest was higher here than in other parts of the UK, and prices in NI are expected to rise again in the next three months.

However, the indicators for new buyer enquiries and newly agree sales are flat, which is consistent with activity in the market flat-lining. Meanwhile, the data suggests that fewer properties are now coming onto the market as well.

With regard to the 12-month outlook, expectations remain relatively optimistic, with surveyors expecting sales activity and prices to be higher in a year’s time. A net balance of +62% of respondents expects prices to be higher in 12 months, with a net balance of +35% forecasting a rise in sales activity in the same period.

Some respondents to the RICS and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey did note that this will require more properties to come onto the market available for sale.

Samuel Dickey, RICS Residential Property Spokesman in Northern Ireland, said: “Anecdotally, it appears that there continues to be significant variation in the market across property types and in different locations. Some areas are seeing something of slowdown, which may or may not be due to seasonal factors, but others continue to see strong demand and rising prices. My own experience is that areas including North Down, Ards and East Belfast are motoring ahead.”

Terry Robb, Head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank, said: “From our perspective the first half of the year has been a strong one for mortgage demand, particularly from first time buyers but also from other types of buyers as well. We don’t see this changing dramatically in the months ahead and see good ongoing demand from people who want to buy their own home, move home, or remortgage.”

The main findings of the RICS and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey

The net balance of respondents who have perceived an increase in house prices over the last 3 months has returned to the highest rate in the UK, with +44% of surveyors reporting a rise.

Expectations for prices in the near term has also increased significantly as a result, to a headline balance of +33% from -17% in May.

The net balance of instructions over the last month has remained in negative territory but appears to be recovering, at -13% compared to a previous balance of -22%.

Similarly, new buyer enquiries and sales over the last month have experienced a slight increase to a flat balance of 0 and +1% respectively.

Sales over the short-term future have therefore returned to positive figures, with +8% of respondents predicting they will increase in the next 3 months.

The 12-month expectations are therefore also positive. The net balance for sales in the next year is at +62% and the balance of those predicting further price increases is +35%.