Posted on Wednesday 8 February 2017 by Ulster Business

Tight supply underpins housing market

Northern Ireland’s residential property market will head higher over the coming months, spurred on by a lack of supply, according to estate agents.

Industry body RICS said the number of sellers coming to the market has fallen to the same level as in the immediate aftermath of the vote to leave the European Union and the dearth of supply will underpin sentiment.

Its Residential Market Survey, carried out in conjunction with Ulster Bank, showed little evidence that the Brexit concern, or indeed the turmoil at Stormont, would dent demand for housing.

“Buyer interest remains strong and houses are selling, but the supply of new properties coming onto the market continues to fall,” the survey said

RICS Residential Property Spokesman Samuel Dickey, said time will tell if the supply situation will improve.

“The Northern Ireland housing market appears to have begun 2017 much as it ended 2016 with prices edging upwards and with reasonable demand evident,” he said. “However, supply remains a challenge, with no sign of the number of properties coming onto the market picking up.

“Surveyors expect transaction activity to hold up in the short-term but unless supply improves, this won’t be sustained. It remains to be seen if sellers are holding off until the spring months before marketing their properties.”

Sean Murphy, Managing Director of Branch Banking at Ulster Bank, said he expects demand for lending to grow.

“The Northern Ireland housing market has entered 2017 with the anticipation of growth in both prices and transactions, and our own expectation at Ulster Bank is for strong mortgage demand, with the ongoing a very low interest rate environment and peoples’ desire to own their own home.”

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