28/06/2002

Activity still high in NI housing market

House prices are still on the rise in Northern Ireland, according to the latest edition of the Northern Ireland Housing Bulletin, which shows a rise of 3.4% for the first quarter of 2002.

The Bulletin, compiled by the Statistics and Research Branch of the Department for Social Development, covers the period from January 1 to March 31, and refers only to new homes registered by the National House-Building Council (NHBC).

The report found that the average selling price of new houses was £92,000 - representing an increase of £3,000 (or 3.4%) on the previous quarter and an increase of £3,000 (3.4%) on the same quarter in 2001. The average selling price of new houses ranged from £57,500 in Derry District Council to £139,800 in North Down District Council (provisional figures).

However, the selling price of flats and maisonettes fell by 13.8% during the same period, the Bulletin claims, with the average selling price standing at £94,000, £15,000 lower than the preceding quarter, and £5,000 (5.1%) lower than the quarter ending March 2001.

Statistics released by the NHBC have shown that UK applications to build new homes increased by 26% in May 2002 when compared with figures for the same period a year earlier.

Newry & Mourne was the district council area with the greatest number of new housing starts (386), representing an increase of 50.2% on the same period last year.

(CL)

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