09/02/2004

NI house building on decrease

House-building activity in Northern Ireland decreased during the fourth quarter of 2003, according to the latest statistic from the National House-Building Council (NHBC).

NHBC figures for the province reveal that a total of 2,094 applications were made to start new homes during the quarter, a decrease of 19% on the same period in 2002.

The average anticipated selling price of new homes – which are registered with NHBC – during the fourth quarter of 2003 was £115,000, representing a 10% increase on figures from Q4 2002 (£105,000). Based on actual selling prices, the proportion of homes sold for over £100,000 was 46%, in increase of 40% on the same period last year.

Tom Kirk, NHBC Director for Northern Ireland, commented: "Although there was a significant dip in the level of new homes started in quarter four, this has been offset by the exceptional number of starts – 2,092 – in the previous quarter."

NHBC's first time buyers' ability to buy index decreased by five points during the quarter, down from 99 to 94. The index is based on a formula which takes into account the average cost of homes bought by first time buyers, average income and mortgage interest rates (from the nationwide Building Society). The higher the index, the greater the ability to buy.

(CL)

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