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House sales volumes increase but still below ‘normal levels’

However surveyors remain cautious about prospects for the market, with the majority (79%) expecting no further increase in transaction levels in the three months ahead.

RICS Northern Ireland spokesman, Tom McClelland, said this was because the Christmas period was generally a quiet one for the housing market. But he also pointed out that the end to the stamp duty holiday and concerns about the impact that public spending cuts would have in Northern Ireland could dampen further recovery in activity.

"We are still experiencing activity that is well below normal levels, despite the undoubted increases that there have been," he said. "Given the importance of the housing market to the local economy, many sectors will be watching closely to see if the new year brings further rises in transaction volumes.

"Activity in recent months has strengthened but there remains, understandably, caution in the market. There are significant economic challenges to come, particularly relating to cuts in public sector expenditure. And the ending of the stamp duty holiday is not a welcome development for the housing market."

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