House transactions in North slacking off over Brexit fears

Survey finds buyer inquiries down with scant sign of new properties coming on market

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Ulster Bank find house prices continued to rise in Northern Ireland in February but  “sales expectations”  sank lower than at any time in the last five years. 

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Ulster Bank find house prices continued to rise in Northern Ireland in February but “sales expectations” sank lower than at any time in the last five years. 

 

Fears about Brexit and the Border appear to be causing potential house buyers and sellers in the North to hold off on deals, latest research suggests.

According to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Ulster Bank residential market survey, house prices continued to rise in Northern Ireland last month but surveyors’ “sales expectations” also sank lower than at any time in the last five years. 

The survey highlights that new buyer inquiries dropped off last month and many surveyors are now warning that the next three months could see lower sales activity in the market against the backdrop of little evidence of new properties coming on the market.

RICS residential property spokesman Samuel Dickey said: “Surveyors appear to be becoming more cautious about the market, perhaps based on some of the recent noise around the Border and Brexit, as well as the expectation that the Bank of England will raise interest rates. 

“But this appears to be less the case regarding prices than sales activity. We’ve seen an ongoing shortage of properties coming on to the market for some time, and this doesn’t appear to have changed in the latest survey.”

As a result of this, the RICS does not expect to see any reduction in current house prices, if anything the lack of new properties coming on the market could drive the price of a home in the North higher again in the next three months.

Seán Murphy, managing director of personal banking at Ulster Bank, says there while there are obvious “challenges” in the market currently, the most recent data from the UK Council of Mortgage Lenders data showed that first time-buyer, home mover and homeowner mortgage lending all rose year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2017.

“Our own experience at Ulster Bank suggests that this trend has continued into Q1 2018,” Mr Murphy added.