30/01/2003

Northern Ireland house prices rise by 9%

The average housing price in the province has increased by almost 9% in the third quarter of last year, according to the Northern Ireland Housing Bulletin (NIHB).

Today's report, published by the Department for Social Development (DSD), reveals that the average selling price of National House Building Council (NHBC) registered new houses from July to September was £100,000 – an increase of £8,000 (8.7%) on the same quarter in 2001.

However, whilst the housing boom has been positive for owners, buyers – spurred on by the low interest rates – are stretching themselves further and this quarter saw an increase in mortgage repossession of 6.4% on the same period for 2001. In total, 402 actions for mortgage possession were recorded.

The average selling price of NHBC-registered new houses ranged from £64,300 in Strabane District Council to £156,600 in Castlereagh District Council according to provisional figures.

However, there was a drop in the average selling price of NHBC-registered flats and maisonettes of 11.6% - now ranging from £13,000-£99,000.

Of the new dwellings actually started, 97% (3,014) were commissioned by the private sector. The total number of starts increased from 2,889 for the quarter ending September 2001, to 3,107 for the quarter ending September 2002. Detached houses represented 37% of all NHBC intended housing starts, representing an increase of 12.6% on the same quarter in 2001. And at 326, the Newry & Mourne district council area saw the greatest number of new housing starts - representing an increase of 162.9% on the same period last year.

The bulletin, which is produced each quarter by the Statistics and Research Branch of the DSD, contains information on new house sales and prices, mortgage advances, actions for mortgage possession and new housing starts.

The next bulletin will published in March.

(GMcG)

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