Northern Ireland house sales activity continues to rise

The number of new homebuyer enquiries in Northern Ireland continued to rise in July despite a drop elsewhere in the UK as a result of the government’s stamp duty holiday beginning to taper off, according to the latest RICS and Ulster Bank residential market survey.

A net balance of +30% of NI respondents said that they saw an increase in new buyer enquiries in July, in contrast to the overall UK picture which pointed to a fall in new buyer enquiries.

The number of agreed sales in Northern Ireland also reportedly continued to increase, with a net balance of +21% of respondents in the July survey saying so, compared to a reported fall across the UK as a whole.

New homebuyer enquiries

However, Northern Ireland surveyors do expect sales activity to begin to moderate. A net balance of -11% was recorded in relation to NI respondents’ expectations for sales activity over the three months ahead. And on a 12-month horizon, surveyors, on balance, expect this trend to continue.

In terms of house prices, the survey again pointed to ongoing increases, with a net balance of +91% of Northern Ireland respondents reporting a rise. Respondents also expect Northern Ireland house prices to continue moving upwards over the next three months, albeit at a slower rate.

Samuel Dickey, RICS Northern Ireland Residential Property Spokesman, says: “July marked the beginning of the second half of the year and surveyors continued to report rising buyer enquiries and newly agreed sales. Perhaps unsurprisingly though, surveyors do expect the very strong activity that we saw in the first half of the year to moderate somewhat. This is to be expected as the pent-up demand from last year finally works its way fully through the system.”

Terry Robb, Head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank, said: “Demand in Northern Ireland to own or move home was extremely strong in the first half of the year and we continue to see strong interest for a range of potential buyers. We continue to work to support customers with their homebuying aspirations.

“Our 95% mortgages in support of first-time buyers which we introduced in July have proven very popular, and we are already seeing strong interest in our new Green Mortgage designed for those wanting to maximise the benefits of having an Energy Performance Certificate A or B rating. With the focus on energy efficiency and climate change only likely to increase in the second half of this year following the recent climate change predictions and with the COP26 event in November, demand for Green Mortgages will only likely go one way.”

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