28/02/2007

Northern Ireland house prices countinue to rise

Northern Ireland’s property prices rocketed by 37% last year, leading to speculation that the market could slow significantly this year.

The University of Ulster latest Quarterly House Price Index has found average house prices would rise by around 15% in 2007.

The survey, in partnership with The Bank of Ireland, has confirmed the average price of a house in NI is now valued at £195,751, - more expensive than Scotland, Wales, and the north of England.

Alan Bridle, Senior Manager of Research in the Bank of Ireland, said: “It shows the old year went out with a bang and the momentum is likely to be carried into at least the early months of 2007.

“We expect the growth to slow, however, to something of the order of 15% in 2007 – perhaps higher in the early months but cooling off as the years unfolds.”

The authors of the survey – Professor Alastair Adair, Professor Stanley McGreal and Mrs Louise Brown – however, said they do not believe the current growth can continue.

Mrs Brown said: “Clearly rates of increase of such magnitude cannot be sustained over a long period of time and they raise the question as to whether and when there will be a market correction.”

One of the main issues the report addressed were problems of affordability for first time buyers.

Only 4% of properties sold for less than £100,000; 26% were in the £100,000 - £150,000 bracket and 35% sold for £150,000 and £200,000.

Around 17% sold for between £200,000 and £250,000 while only 18% went for more.

(JM/SP)

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