Latest figures published today confirm that the property market in the North continues to grow. Despite a very slight drop (1%) on last quarters over all price index toady’s report shows that property prices are on average 6% higher than this time last year. The number of residential property transactions is down by around 400 from this time last year. However the big news is that in 2014 the number of transactions is almost doubled in number from in 2010 rising from 10716 to 20575. This is the highest recorded number of property transactions recorded since the peak of the boom in 2007.
The bulk of the properties sold fell within the £60 – 70,000.00 price range and the main house type sold was the humble mid terrace property. The mid terrace was the only property type that has seen and increase in price index from Q4 of 2014 to Q1 for 2015 and showed an above average of 8% growth in the year compared to other property types, which still enjoyed an average annual increase of around 6%.
Regionally, the Belfast are as showed an above average increase of 9% growth on last year but the largest area of growth on last year was found to be the North of Antrim and Derry regions, which rose by a whopping 11% in the year. Looking to the North Belfast market I would estimate that growth in this area would be around the 11 – 12% due to the high numbers of mid terrace properties and the increased demand for properties within the area due to the ratio of available properties versus an increasing population. This makes North Belfast an attractive area for investors as well as home buyers.
Looking to the South Belfast property market, which has always been an attractive market to many perspective buyers, to include investors, families and first-time buyers alike South Belfast has always attracted the higher price brackets and so this may be reflected in the slightly lower number of sales recorded in quarter 1 of this year, against quarter 1 of 2014, when prices were a little lower.
Our South and East Belfast branch has experienced increased levels of new sales instructions together with successful sales figures. We have noted a slight increase in sale prices over recent months, and moreover, an increase in the level of interest within the property market, highlighting the improved level of confidence within the South Belfast market, and the Northern Ireland property market in general.
In summary the overall housing market in Northern Ireland has shown a good rate of sustainable recovery in line with the overall economy in the region. The major success story of this report is the increased number of transactions in the lower price regions that indicates that more and more people are accessing finance and are able to get on the property ladder after years of ambiguity and uncertainty within the market. Looking forward I would hope that there is continued growth in not only the lower price bracket but also the £100 - £200k market. This will require an increase in the number of finance options and mortgage products available from the financial institutions. I would forecast that prices in this in this bracket will also benefit from the decreasing number of distressed property sales in auction as property repossessions due to default decrease and an overall stability returns to the property market.