House prices still rising in Northern Ireland…

Despite the recent hikes in interest rates and the general uncertainty around the economy, house prices are still rising.

From Margeret Canning in the BelTel:

Dr Michael McCord, reader in real estate valuation at UU, said: “The housing market, while showing a softening in price growth over the course of 2022, continues to show resilience with no price correction evident despite the rather turbid economic setting, the continued cost of living crisis and Bank of England base rate increases.

“There are signs of purchaser demand and sentiment weakening invariably due to consumers adopting a ‘holding position’ to see whether interest rate increases have peaked and what appears to be the beginning of an easing inflationary environment.

“The housing market, to a certain extent, continues to be protected from any severe price correction due to the ongoing imbalance between demand and supply and the chronic lack and quality of private rental stock.”

The Ulster University, which carries out quarterly research on the housing market in partnership with the Housing Executive, said the average price of £207,327 in quarter four marked a nominal increase of 1.3% on the three months beforehand.

And of all housing types, apartments were up by the biggest percentage at 5.6% to an average of £158,300.

In contrast, terraced homes/townhouses fell in value by 4.1% to an average of £134,440. Detached homes were down by just 0.2% on the previous quarter, with an average price tag of £292,773.

But semi-detached homes were up 1.7% to £190,822 in average price.

The core issue seems to be a lack of stock. The population of NI continues to rise, but we are not building enough new homes to meet this demand.

As usual, the causes are complex. Poor infrastructure, especially with NI Water stops development in certain areas (No drains, no cranes, as they like to say). Then you have issues with our incredibly slow planning services. Lack of tradespeople to build the homes. Developers concentrating on higher priced developments with bigger profit margins. Then you have sectarian issues like the blocking of new homes in North Belfast to stop ‘themums’ moving in. Throw in a good chunk of nimbyism and self-interest from various vested interest groups, and you have a housing crisis to add to our ever-growing list of crises.

The solution to me is we just need to get our finger out and build more public housing. We also need to be embracing new faster ways of building homes. For example, Fast House up in Limavady can churn out a house in a few weeks. Can the Housing Executive not stick in an order for 10,000 of them?

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