Uplift in Northern Ireland housing market

By Bridging Loan Directory -


Some improvements were evident in the NI housing market in March, according to the latest RICS and Ulster Bank Housing Market Survey.

The latest survey indicates that the data for transaction volumes and transaction expectations remain firmly in positive territory, reflecting seasonal factors. There have also been increases in enquiries and new instructions, according to respondents.

However, the balance of surveyors is still reporting falling prices, and the balance of respondents expects prices to fall in the months ahead.

2011 saw a third consecutive year of increasing first-time buyer mortgage completions in Northern Ireland, and Ulster Bank has experienced further increases in first-time buyer interest since the beginning of 2012.

Encouragingly, we are also currently seeing rising demand from other mortgage borrowers, including remortgagers and home movers, who have been responding to our current campaign which offers competitive rates and no arrangement fees for a period.

Derek Wilson, Head of Lending Products, Ulster Bank

The dramatic improvements in affordability in the Northern Ireland housing market since 2007 have been highlighted by a range of surveys.

With prices at the lower end of the market now so much more affordable and increasingly stabilising, there is evidence that if first-time buyers have a deposit, there is enthusiasm to buy.

That said, with wider economic conditions still challenging, we don’t expect to see any major shift in the market, with seasonality likely to remain the biggest influence on activity for the foreseeable.

Tom McClelland, RICS Northern Ireland housing spokesman

The balance for transactions was +27 (this is the percentage of respondents saying the number of transactions rose, minus the percentage saying the number fell). The balance for transaction expectations was +42.

The March survey’s net balance for prices was -52 (52% of respondents saying that prices fell in the last three months and 48% saying they were unchanged). The balance for price expectations was -25.