If you have been paying attention to the headlines over the past year, you might be feeling pressured to get on the property ladder. After all, home sales in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland have been proceeding at a record pace, pushing property values up to unprecedented highs and leading to claims that the UK property market is in the midst of an asset bubble.
For some, the frenzied activity in the housing market means that now is the right time to buy, before things get too hot. For others, the current pace of changes suggests that they should take a back seat and wait until things have calmed down a bit, lest they buy into a bubble. But what about home buyers in Belfast? Let’s take a look at the fundamentals to see whether now is the right time to buy.
Prices Are Higher But Still Affordable
Much like the rest of the UK, house prices in Belfast and across Northern Ireland have risen over the course of the past 12 months. In Northern Ireland as a whole, prices are up 4.9% year-on-year at £147,593, compared to £140,722 this time a year ago. In the capital region, prices are slightly higher than the national average, at £159,468.
While this means that Belfast’s housing market is more expensive than ever, it is worth noting that this is still far, far cheaper than the UK average. In England, the average house price is around £270,000, while Scotland’s average home goes for £285,000. In London meanwhile, the average house price is an eye-watering £539,000. This means that, for those looking to get on the property ladder, there are bargains to be had in Belfast.
Mortgage Rates Are Recovering in NI
One major reason to consider buying a home in Northern Ireland right now is that mortgage rates are improving and are tilting more towards the buyer’s favour. After a year or two of mortgage scarcity and expensive rates, things are changing. There are now more than 3600 fixed-rate mortgages available to UK buyers, and the number of 10% or even 5% deposit mortgages is surging.
In order to get the very best mortgage rates in Northern Ireland, it is always recommended to use a trusted mortgage advisor. For example, free online mortgage advisor platforms like Trussle can help you browse thousands of fixed-rate mortgages in Northern Ireland to help you purchase your Belfast home at the best possible prices.
Stamp Duty is Changing
Finally, it is crucial to note that the stamp duty holiday, which officially ends on 30 June, 2021, could impact your decision to buy a home. However, the changes simply mean that the existing £500,000 threshold will be lowered back down to £250,000.
If you are buying in Belfast, it is unlikely that this change will affect you unless you are buying at the top end of the market. Ignore the noisy headlines about the stamp duty changes if you are looking to buy a home in Belfast.
Now is an interesting time to buy in Belfast. Whether current price trajectories will continue remains to be seen, but it is clear that the property market is looking brighter than it has done for a long time.