House survey shows prices in North are holding up

Domestic uncertainty not affecting North’s house prices as those in rest of UK fall

Political uncertainty stifled house price growth across the UK last month but Northern Ireland proved to be the exception, according to a new survey, which shows local surveyors saw a rise in prices rather than a slump.

The latest UK residential market survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), published on Thursday, points to domestic political uncertainty as the key factor behind a further drop in house price inflation in the UK.

The RICS said the number of agreed residential property sales in the UK fell in June as new-buyer instructions slumped and fewer homeowners decided to put their property on the market.

It said most parts of the UK showed a “generally flat trend” in house sales, with central London in particular recording a further deterioration in residential property prices driven by “the political climate, Brexit and the changes in stamp duty”.


It said Northern Ireland now had the “most buoyant” housing market in the UK, with rising prices and healthy sales expectations.

Its Northern Ireland survey, carried out in conjunction with Ulster Bank, shows that across a range of measures – inquiries, prices and expectations – Northern Ireland is ahead of the UK in general.

The RICS also found that in the North there was a fresh jump in the number of newly-agreed sales last month, which had previously dipped in May.

Upbeat market

Samuel Dickey, a partner in the Simon Brien Residential agency, is the RICS residential property spokesman in the North. He said the local market had performed better than some expected in the first half of the year.

Mr Dickey said an upbeat property market in June had also helped create expectations for the next six months ahead, although he said there could be some challenges.

“As we move into the latter half of the year there continues to be some political uncertainty, and consumers will feel something of a squeeze from rising inflation. However, the latest survey suggests that there is still momentum in the local housing market and that surveyors remain positive about the outlook.”

According to Sean Murphy, managing director of personal banking at Ulster Bank Northern Ireland, residential property remained relatively affordable in the North. He said Northern Ireland still had a strong culture of people wanting to "own their own home".

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

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