The Northern Ireland property market remains buoyant in spite of the challenges faced throughout 2021, and we are confident this momentum will continue in 2022.
This solid performance against a backdrop of difficulties imposed by COVID 19, the various lockdowns and political uncertainty relating to Brexit represents a strong consumer confidence in the market. With the accumulation of delayed transactions from pre-lockdown sales and new interest generated within the lockdown period, the result was a surge of business post lockdown. Some believed this surge would slow but what remained was a consistent eagerness from purchasers looking to buy. Various factors contributed to this eagerness to buy including a want to benefit from the Stamp Duty holiday (ended partially in June 2021 and entirely in September 2021) along with the fact people were spending less on luxury items and travel due to the lockdown restrictions imposed and were able to save some money towards deposits.
“House prices in Northern Ireland had their biggest annual increase since 2007 during the third quarter of 2021”. - John Campbell, BBC News, 17.11.21, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-59322025. Richard Ramsey, chief economist at Ulster Bank, said that across Northern Ireland average prices were up 13.1% or almost £18,400 since the start of the pandemic.
Northern Ireland continues to provide excellent value for money when it comes to the property market with comparative prices considerably below the UK average. According to the Northern Ireland House Price Index, the average house price for Northern Ireland in the 3rd Quarter of 2021 was a relatively reasonable £159,109. We have noticed numerous people relocating from outside Northern Ireland. The motivation is to avail of the competitive property prices and quality of life that Northern Ireland has to offer. The average house price in Northern Ireland ranges from £140,983 in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon to £183,392 in Lisburn and Castlereagh, with Belfast coming in at £150, 267 (a + 9.6% change over the last 12 months).
With more people working from home, this flexibility has prompted people to rethink how they live, and what space they require and desire at home, both indoor and outdoor. Undoubtably, the appropriately termed “race for space” is one of the main reasons why people have decided to make the move – or get onto the property ladder.
An equally noteworthy catalyst behind the buoyancy of the property market is the fact mortgage rates, despite going up recently, still remain historically low.
“Mortgage rates have been edging upwards in recent weeks in anticipation of today’s base rate rise, and it’s clear that lenders believe there could be at least one more hike next year. Mortgage rates still remain competitive by historic standards, so our advice to borrowers is to get an offer locked in now” – Simon Gammon, Managing Partner, Knight Frank Finance, 16.12.21
The main issue now is the lack of supply. Not enough properties are coming onto the market to meet the demand from potential purchasers, which is the reason why sales have slowed as we enter the final few weeks of the year. Vendors of many of the recent valuations we have conducted have indicated they are preparing to market their homes for sale in January. It is clear there is no sign of a slowdown in demand, which we have witnessed remaining high throughout 2021.
Whatever your reason for moving; whether that be an upsize, a downsize or simply to get onto the property ladder, there is no better time than the present.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and look forward to hearing from you in 2022! Our office will be open on 29th and 30th December 2021 also, should you wish to arrange a valuation.