Overview – The Property Market in Northern Ireland
Nowhere in the UK was hit harder by declining property values than Northern Ireland during the banking crisis of 2008. But after several years of turmoil and declining house prices, it seems that things are now moving in the right direction. According to the Belfast Telegraph, house prices in Northern Ireland rose by 7.4 percent during the 12 months to July 2015 – and that was the highest rate of growth in the UK.
This is, of course, fantastic news for homeowners and banks in the country, but there is still some way to go before house prices reach their 2007- pre-crash – levels. Another report on the Belfast Telegraph revealed that property values across the country are still only around half of their 2007 levels. And despite enjoying the strongest rate of property value growth in the UK, Northern Ireland is still one of the cheapest places for house buying in the country.
The average price of a home in Northern Ireland was £151,000 in October 2015 – and rising. Among the property hotspots where demand is exceptionally high right now are north Down, South Belfast and East Belfast. And it seems there is more good news on the way, as the RICS is forecasting an 11 percent increase in Northern Ireland property values in the final quarter of 2015. Increases have also been recorded over the last 12 months in Newtonabbey too.
There was more good news from the BBC, as it was revealed in August 2015 that house prices in Northern Ireland had finally returned to their 2005 levels. Although there is still some way to go before local property values return to their 2007 levels, the feeling among most analysts in the country is one of optimism.
But there are some reports that suggest the local market for property is not as buoyant as some experts believe. According to property analyst Hometrack, the average price of a house in Belfast during January 2015 was £115,600. Whereas the trough in house prices was reached six or seven years ago in most UK cities, it is apparent that Belfast property values have only been recovering for around 18 months. While this is bad news for homeowners, it is fantastic news for buyers trying to get on the property ladder for the first time.