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Northern Ireland housing market remains resilient despite political and economic uncertainty


Thursday, February 7th, 2019

The latest Quarterly House Price Index report from Ulster University highlights
sustainable and resilient annual price growth in Northern Ireland with the level of
transactions remaining healthy. Quarterly growth is more subdued than earlier in
2018, continuing the more passive market conditions observed in the last quarter.

Ulster University’s research is produced in partnership with Progressive Building
Society and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

Analysing the performance of the Northern Ireland housing market between October-
December 2018, the report reveals an overall average house price of £163,165, up
4.9% over the year. The volume of transactions in the survey is 1,954.

Estate agents’ market observations this quarter have been dominated by the
impending Brexit deadline. There is a strong feeling that many vendors, purchasers
and investors are collectively holding off from any significant decisions relating to
property transations until the outcome of the ongoing Brexit negogiations has been
decided.

The distribution of sale prices this quarter broadly reflects the previous quarter, with
the share of lower priced properties at or below £100,000 at 22% while properties
sold at or below £150,000 accounted for 58% of transactions compared to 60% in
the previous survey. For the higher price brackets, 78% of transactions are at or
below £200,000, 87% of properties sold at or below £250,000 and 93% at or below
£300,000. Overall, the analysis by price band is indicative of a relatively stable and still affordable housing market in Northern Ireland, with price spreads relatively
unchanged over the quarter.

Lead researcher, Dr Martin Hinch from Ulster University said:
“This latest survey of the condition of the housing market in Northern Ireland
indicates a continuation of the more subdued market conditions observed in
the last quarter after the high growth levels observed in the first half of the
year. Annual increase for 2018 is resilient at 4.9% however quarterly growth is
considerably more moderate, with very little change in overall average price
during the last three months of the year. This is consistent with housing
markets elsewhere within the UK and would appear to reflect the high levels of
political and economic uncertainty both in Northern Ireland and the wider
economy.”

Commenting on the report Michael Boyd, Deputy Chief Executive and Finance
Director, Progressive Building Society said, “While quarterly growth for Q4 was more
subdued than in Q1 and Q2 of 2018, this report reflects a housing market that is
sustainable compared to the same period in 2017. The well documented current
political challenges may have impacted vendors’ decision making this quarter,
resulting in suppressed sales with seasonality also playing a factor.  However, with
unemployment rates below the UK average and continued affordability, the housing
market is in a healthy place.”

Karly Greene, Head of Research at the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, which
commissions the research, said:

“The local housing market was relatively buoyant in 2018 against a mixed
background of political and economic conditions, and most of these factors
carry over into 2019. All other things being equal, we would expect the
relatively affordable and stable housing market conditions of recent years to
continue, but the uncertainty about Brexit and what it may mean for the wider
economy and consumer confidence in Northern Ireland may well have some
impact on the housing market in coming months, depending on what happens
at the end of March.”

 

The full report can be viewed HERE


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