Posted on Wednesday 9 May 2012 by Ulster Business

Property signs

House prices in Northern Ireland continued to slip last month, and while there were some encouraging signs in Belfast, most surveyors expect prices to fall further in the months ahead.

The latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Ulster Bank Housing Market Survey for April showed that data for transaction volumes and transaction expectations remained firmly in positive territory, reflecting seasonal factors. The data for prices also eased marginally.

However, the balance of surveyors is still reporting falling prices, and the balance of respondents expects prices to fall further.

The April survey’s net balance for prices was -39 (48% of respondents saying that prices fell in the last three months, 10% saying they rose, and 42% saying they were unchanged). The balance for price expectations was -23.

The balance for transactions was +23 (this is the percentage of respondents saying the number of transactions rose, minus the percentage saying the number fell). The balance for transaction expectations was +42.

RICS Northern Ireland housing spokesman, Tom McClelland, said: “It is a mixed pictured, with indications that the market in greater Belfast is in a better place than other parts of Northern Ireland. At the lower end of the market at least, there are also increasing signs that asking prices and buyers’ ability to borrow are more closely aligned.”

Derek Wilson, Head of Lending Products at Ulster Bank, added: “Borrowers have responded well to Ulster Bank’s no arrangement fees offer, which runs until the end of May. As a result, we have been encouraged by the level of interest and activity that we have experienced in recent months.”

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