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CONFIDENCE in the north’s housing market remains the strongest of all the UK regions, according to an industry survey.

The latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey for July shows that Northern Ireland surveyors are optimistic about the months ahead in relation to both sales and prices.

A net balance of 64 per cent of local surveyors expect to see an increase in the number of houses sold over the next three months, while a net balance of 58 per cent expect a rise in activity over the year ahead – the highest in the UK.

This contrasts with the outlook in the rest of the UK, particularly London, where sales expectations are in negative territory for the next 12 months.

Respondents also report positively on house prices, with 60 per cent stating they have seen a rise over the past three months, with the balance the highest recorded in the north in three years and above all UK regions. Looking ahead 36 per cent said they expect prices to increase in the next quarter, while over three quarters (77 per cent) expect prices to be higher next year. The data further shows a jump in new buyer enquiries and newly agreed sales.

In spite of the positivity within the local market, supply remains a concern, with survey respondents reporting a marginal fall in new instructions to sell.

RICS residential property spokesman, Samuel Dickey said the latest figures are positive.

“Unlike in other parts of the UK, surveyors in Northern Ireland are seeing prices rising and are remain confident about the outlook. With houses in Northern Ireland more affordable than elsewhere, people continue to want to buy their own home. The main challenge though is that there are not enough properties to meet the demand.”

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, added: “At Ulster Bank we continue to see strong demand from first time buyers, those seeking to remortgage, and people moving home. It’s clear that Northern Ireland’s housing market continues to display more positive sentiment than the UK average. Despite the recent increase in interest rates by the Bank of England, mortgage rates remain at low levels historically and we anticipate good demand through the remainder of the year.”

The latest survey results come a day after a report from Ulster University revealed that the average house price in the north has increased by 6.2 per cent over the year to £162,215.

Source: Irish News

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