Post-election period subdued in local housing market

And almost three-quarters of Northern Ireland chartered surveyors surveyed expect prices to be flat over the year ahead.

However, the past three months saw almost a third of respondents reporting price falls, making Northern Ireland the worst performing region in the UK in terms of house prices.

RICS Northern Ireland spokesman Tom McClelland said:

"According to a range of indices the local economy is lagging other UK regions. It is therefore not surprising that the local housing market falls into the same bracket.  In terms of activity, there has no doubt been evidence of an increase, with more enquiries from buyers and marketing appraisals for sellers, but it is still just as difficult to pin down deals, with a lot of hard work moving an enquiry to a completed sale. With the impact of public spending cuts starting to be felt in the Northern Ireland economy, the likelihood is for a subdued – and largely stable – market for some time to come.

Derek Wilson, head of lending products at Ulster Bank said:

"The more stable market conditions that respondents to the survey are expecting should, at least, provide some reassurance to those contemplating a home purchase. Our own view is that there is pent up demand from particular types of purchasers who will be encouraged by the signs of stability.

The net balance for prices during the past three months was -24, with 63 per cent of respondents saying that prices were unchanged, 30 per cent saying they were lower and the remainder saying they rose.

The net balance for transactions during the past three months was 14, with 57 per cent saying that transactions levels remained unchanged, 14 per cent saying they were down and 28 per cent saying they were up.

The net balance for transaction expectations during the next three months was 14, with 57 per cent saying that transactions levels will be unchanged, 14 per cent saying they will fall and 29 per cent saying they will go up.

The net balance for price expectations is -7, with 79 per cent saying prices will be flat in the quarter ahead, 14 per cent saying they will be down, and 7 per cent saying they will rise.

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