New research released this week shows strong levels of sales continuing in Northern Ireland’s housing market, but average house prices reported as falling back slightly in the first quarter of this year, amid continuing debate around the forthcoming EU referendum, as well as the traditional post-Christmas lull.
Produced in partnership with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Progressive Building Society, Ulster University’s research suggests that the overall average house price of £146,472 for the first quarter of 2016 is lower than might have been anticipated based on the strong growth during 2015, particularly in the third and fourth quarters. It highlights a 1.4 per cent weighted increase in average house price over the year but a 6.5 per cent weighted decrease over the quarter.
Lead researcher, Professor Stanley McGreal from Ulster University said: “The research statistics are reflective of mixed feelings by the sector across Northern Ireland with some estate agents attributing the apparent slowing in first quarter simply to a seasonal fluctuation, others attribute it to house buyers’ concerns of economic uncertainty.
“When it comes to overall performance by property type, the average price of terraced/townhouses, detached bungalows and apartments have increased over the year. In contrast, semi-detached and detached houses have experienced a slower rate of annual growth. Over the quarter, all property types, with the exception of semi-detached bungalows, have suffered reduced price levels.”
Templeton Robinson Managing partner Keith Mitchell says the latest research appears to illustrate both uncertainty around Brexit and the seasonal effect of slight fall back in prices attributable to the recent surge increase in supply to the market, giving consumer choice and time to research the market more fully.
“We trust the year-on-year increase in prices will consolidate after the Summer and referendum uncertainty is clarified, despite the slight dip in the first quarter of this year which is traditionally a quieter period for the market. Our experience is that transactions are increasing, and will most likely peak later this year after the summer and referendum result, with supply then reducing and lifestyle plans driving the strong sales already outlined."