PropertyPal launches unique economic and housing forecast model

PropertyPal has today (Tuesday 8 October) released a series of new reports, including its ‘Housing and Economic Outlook’ alongside Northern Ireland’s first comprehensive ‘Residential Housing Review’ and accompanying 11 council area reports, offering granular detail about the local property market. 

The property portal’s ‘Housing and Economic Outlook’ report forecasts critical economic indicators including GDP, wages, jobs and house prices. In the Residential Housing Review, PropertyPal subdivides Northern Ireland’s 11 council areas into almost 500 ‘micro-areas’, showing never-before seen data on local market, including the most popular locations to buy a home as well as including detailed property price information by different property styles. 

PropertyPalBusiness leaders from across Northern Ireland gathered this morning at PropertyPal’s head offices where the reports were released by the company’s Chief Economist, Jordan Buchanan. 

Jordan Buchanan, Chief Economist at PropertyPal commented on the reports’ findings: “The Northern Ireland economy has been performing particularly well in recent years despite an increasingly challenging backdrop. Firms have been hiring at record rates, economic inactivity is falling, unemployment is exceptionally low by historical standards and amongst the lowest of any advanced nation in the world. However, the outlook remains cautious with many forward leading indicators suggesting the local economy is close to a recession.”

Despite recent events in Northern Ireland, generally speaking, employment rates are also improving: “Since 2012 there has been an impressive 95,000 jobs created, equivalent to over 37 new jobs per day and to date, there are more people in work than there were at peak levels in 2008. The latest employment rate is at record highs of 71.7% alongside a low unemployment rate of 3.1% which is feeding through to above-inflation levels of wage growth. This in turn is supporting household finances and helping aspiring homeowners save towards their deposits.”

PropertyPalFocussing on the housing market, Northern Ireland remains amongst the most affordable places in the UK to buy a home as Jordan continues: “Today the median house price in Northern Ireland stands at £134,200, 29% below the highs of 2007 and over 40% lower than the UK average (though a more sensible comparison is 34% lower that Great Britain excluding London). In terms of affordability, this represents house prices about 5x full time salaries and significantly more affordable than a decade ago when prices were more than 10x salaries. For context, across the UK as a whole, the ratio is currently 8x salaries and reaches as high as 13x in London. Affordable housing should not be overlooked as a key selling feature of the region and should appeal to retain and attract a talented workforce wishing to get on the housing ladder.”

Jordan further commented on the impact Brexit might have on the market’s outlook: ‘Until a Brexit deal is secured, economic and political uncertainty will restrain buyer sentiment. The UK wide housing market will remain price sensitive and beyond that, depending on what deal is agreed, will have an impact on the path of interest rates, wage growth and house prices. 

Fortunately from a Northern Ireland perspective, there is a case for optimism as the fundamental drivers remain encouraging. Ongoing affordability, pent up demand, a low interest rate environment – with competitive mortgage deals – and an increasingly tight labour market, with real wage growth, should support house price growth in the coming years. Assuming the avoidance of a No-Deal Brexit arrangement at the macro- economic level, PropertyPal forecast house price growth of 2.9% this year, 3.6% next year and between 3.0%-4.0% until 2023. 

PropertyPal’s ‘Housing and Economic Outlook’ and ‘Residential Property Review’ Series – available online now at – are the first in a regular series of detailed economic forecasts and property market reviews. Further publications are scheduled throughout the year.

  • Forecast models show economy will grow by 1.2% this year, 1.3% next year and between 1.5%-2.0% until 2023.
  • Median house prices grew 3.6% last year, and assuming a soft Brexit arrangement, are forecast to grow by 2.9% this year, 3.6% next year and between 3.0%-4.0% until 2023.
  • 21,500 net new jobs forecast to be created in Northern Ireland by 2023, with approximately 2 in every 3 roles requiring full time workers.
  • The median house price in Northern Ireland stands at £134,200 – 29% below the highs of 2007 and over 40% lower than the UK average.
  • New ‘micro-area’ analysis shows the top 5 most popular locations to buy a home last year were in Carrowreagh (just outside Dundonald – with almost 180 homes sold), Windsor (171), Bloomfield (137), Connswater (126) and Central Craigavon (125).
  • Cultra and Malone are the most expensive areas to buy a home across the country with median property prices in the areas costing over £400,000. 
  • There are over 80 locations in Northern Ireland where median property prices are under £100,000 reflecting widespread affordability across the country.
  • Figures were released as part of new research series which includes 13 publications: Housing And Economic Outlook, Residential Housing Review and 11 individual council reports.

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