Politics

Northern Ireland housing market pushes higher on tight supply but momentum wanes

The Northern Ireland residential property market continues to push higher, underpinned by a diminishing supply of new houses for sale, but upward momentum is expected to wane in the coming months.

That’s according to the latest housing market report from online website PropertyPal which said average prices climbed 5.5% in the year to the fourth quarter of 2021 with similar gains noted in the rental sector.

It pegged the average house price in Northern Ireland at £180,700 with prices ranging from £97,600 for a one-bedroom flat to £376,400 for a five-bedroom house. The most expensive council area remains Ards & North Down where average prices stand at £210,300 while the least expensive is Fermanagh & Omagh at £149,600.

Of note is the sharp fall in the number of properties listed for sale on the property website to 4,770, a 44% drop on the fourth quarter of 2020.

The findings chimes with recent evidence which suggests demand remains relatively strong for houses across Northern Ireland, yet buyers are struggling to find available property.

As a result, the number of transactions completed has also fallen by some 16% on a year-on-year basis, although still remains higher than pre-pandemic levels in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Jordan Buchanan, Chief Economist at PropertyPal, expected a steadier year ahead.

“More generally the market is expected to stabilise throughout 2022 with weaker price growth resulting,” he said. “Indeed, overall price growth has already moderated with annual rates now sitting at 5.5% and closer aligned to wage growth across the wider economy.”

That is also borne out by latest data which shows average house prices rose only 0.1% compared to the third quarter of 2021.

“An ongoing shortage of available properties alongside the latest covid-19 omicron wave may weaken seller confidence, both of which will limit activity in the short term.”

Rental prices also rose, climbing 5.4% over the year to an average of £698-a-month.

Mr Buchanan said demand remains at “exceptional levels”.

“On average there were 48 enquiries for every new rental listing in N.Ireland across Q4 2021, equivalent to 3x the pre-pandemic average,” he said. “Rents are growing at an annual rate of 5.4%, however, with considerable sub regional variation with some locations seeing double-digit rent growth. The shortage of properties remains the biggest challenge for the sector.”



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