Walk on by: people are unwilling to sell.

Patchy recovery in Northern Irish housing

Published:  27 May, 2010

BELFAST: A fall in house sales in Northern Ireland during the first three months of the year suggests any recovery is ‘patchy and uneven’, according to industry research.

Average house prices in Northern Ireland rose slightly in the first quarter to £169 497 compared to £161 429 in the final quarter of 2009.

But, the number of house sales fell from more than 1000 in the closing quarter of last year to just 800 in the first three months of 2010.

The research, contained in the latest University of Ulster Quarterly House Price Index, which is produced in partnership with Bank of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, shows that the local market is becoming increasingly influenced by the private rental sector.

Alan Bridle, Bank of Ireland economist said owner-occupiers were either unable or unwilling to sell at lower prices and this had increased rental demand, as had those finding it harder to obtain a mortgage or deferring buying a home in the belief prices would fall further.

In the past 12 months, the average house price in Belfast has risen by 18% to £183,498 - the best performance for the city's housing market since 2007. Some 54% of all properties in the North sold during the first quarter of 2010 at or below £150 000.

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