Belfast records second-highest property price growth in UK

Prices advanced 5.8% in the year to the end of January, according to website Zoopla

Belfast. Photograph: iStock

Belfast. Photograph: iStock


Property prices in Belfast rose at the second-highest rate across the UK in the year to the end of January, according to a survey by British property website Zoopla.

House prices rose 5.8 per cent in Belfast in the period, outpaced only by Leicester city, where growth of 6 per cent was recorded. Across the 20 UK cities surveyed by Zoopla, house prices rose 2.9 per cent.

Although prices were rising quickly in some key cities, London inflation was virtually flat at 0.2 per cent. In Aberdeen, prices fell 1.6 per cent as a result of the fall in the oil price with properties there valued at £34,000 lower than in mid-2015.

Zoopla’s results show that 13 cities are registering weaker growth than a year ago as a result of affordability pressures and increased uncertainty. Edinburgh, Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Bristol registered the sharpest slowdown.

While Belfast’s prices were rising quickly, the average house price is the second lowest in this survey at £133,800. Only in Liverpool were prices lower.

The survey also details how the weakest markets have the longest sales periods and largest discounts. Currently, Aberdeen and Inner London see a discount to asking prices averaging 7 per cent with the time to sell standing at 16 weeks.

Edinburgh and Glasgow recorded the fastest time to sell a property and achieved prices are, on average, 6 and 8 per cent higher than the asking price respectively.

Zoopla said the demand for housing was holding up better “than many had expected” but added that city house price growth will moderate in the “very near term”.

Local factors

Zoopla’s UK Cities House Price Index covers 35 per cent of the country’s housing stock by volume and 43 per cent of its capital value.

Richard Donnell, Zoopla’s research and insight director, noted the current housing cycle started almost a decade ago and is unfolding at different speeds across the UK driven by local factors.

“Three years ago London house prices were rising in double digits and the discount to asking price was just 1 per cent. Affordability pressures and tax changes have impacted demand for housing and the result has been a widening in discounts from asking prices as a result of price sensitive buyers and sellers reluctant to provide significant discounts,” he noted.