Brexit fears dominate housing market in Northern Border towns

Estate agents report ‘overall lack of confidence’ among buyers and sellers

Estate agents in Border towns in the North are seeing an “overall lack of confidence” from house buyers and sellers because of the “uncertainty of Brexit” and weak sterling, according to a new UK housing market survey.

But while some property sales along the Border may appear to be suffering as the deadline for the UK exit from the EU draws near, the same is not true for the rest of the North, the latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey suggests.

The RICS said its latest feedback from surveyors shows overall confidence in Northern Ireland’s housing market is higher than elsewhere in the UK and their members expect to see an increase in the number of houses sold over the next three months.

This is in contrast too to an mixed overall picture across the UK, according to the institution, which has also highlighted a pattern of “negative” market conditions, in particular in London, where property sales are expected to fall over the next 12 months.


Different dynamic

Samuel Dickey, RICS residential property spokesman, said there is a different dynamic at play in the North, where during July, there was yet another increase in new buyer inquiries.

“Unlike in other parts of the UK, surveyors in Northern Ireland are seeing prices rising and are remain confident about the outlook.

“With houses in Northern Ireland more affordable than elsewhere, people continue to want to buy their own home. The main challenge though is that there are not enough properties to meet the demand.”

As a result estate agents in the North have also noted that rental demand remains strong.

The RICS has warned that across the UK there is a growing shortage of rental properties which could push up rents by as much as 15 per cent by 2023.

The institution said new UK tax changes, which are still in the process of being implemented, are making it less attractive for the buy-to-let market, in turn hitting the supply of rental properties.

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business