14/12/2007

Buyers' Market In 2008 As NI Home Prices Fall?

While the first half of 2007 was 'Sell! Sell! Sell!' as house prices rocketed, it looks like the first six months of the coming New Year will be somewhat less dynamic.

Despite this month's quarter per cent interest rate drop, the latest housing market survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for November says more than four out of five properties in Northern Ireland have seen prices fall.

More pointedly, over a quarter of surveyors here said prices had fallen by as much as 8% on individual homes.

RICS Northern Ireland housing spokesman Tom McClelland added: "House price decline was reported across the UK in November, with confidence in the market low in the wake of the recent credit crunch.

"A period of slowdown was inevitable as the market reached a level that could not be sustained by first-time buyers," he said.

Mr McClelland said lower interest rates and more realistic asking prices would now allow first-time buyers greater access to the market.

However, estate agents in the country warned the report should be treated with caution.

Beth Robinson of Templeton Robinson Estate Agents said: "It is extremely hard to judge anything at the moment because frankly November and December are quiet months anyway."

(BMcC)

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