Posted on Sunday 24 November 2013 by Ulster Business

 Property signs

The number of house sales in Northern Ireland rose by more than 20% in the third quarter of this year from the previous three months, according to the latest University of Ulster Quarterly House Price Index.

Produced in partnership with Bank of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive the survey found the number of transactions recorded in July, August and September was 1,706 which was the largest sample size in this survey since the peak of the local housing market in the second quarter of 2007.

Although the overall average price of residential property in the third quarter, at £129,777, was broadly similar to the previous quarter, the report said the improving volume of sales offered considerable comfort that the housing market was in recovery.

The overall average price of a house showed a weighted increase of 1.3% over the quarter but was down 4.8% over a year.

The report also said there was "a highly affordable price structure" in the Northern Ireland market. The proportion of properties in the survey selling at or below £100,000 rose in the third quarter to 44%. Overall, nearly three quarters of homes in the sample sold at or below £150,000.

"This should provide potential first-time buyers with confidence that there is a range of affordable housing in Northern Ireland. The price profile supports comments from the estate agency sector about the stabilisation of prices and growth in the number of transactions over the year," the report added.

Alan Bridle, UK Economist at Bank of Ireland UK, said: "With house sellers adjusting their price expectations downwards, we are seeing houses selling again in greater numbers at these reduced prices, with the lower end of the market particularly active.

"The more favourable economic outlook, allied to UK government measures to stimulate the housing market, is likely to support greater activity into 2014.However, the conditions for a broader-based and more buoyant recovery in Northern Ireland are not yet in place."

The Housing Executive's Head of Research, Joe Frey, said: "The latest house price data confirms that the housing market is continuing along the path of stabilisation and recovery. The significant increase in turnover will offer a wider choice for homeowners and sound opportunities for investors."

Lisburn remained the highest priced area in Northern Ireland with an average of £173,224 while North Belfast was the least expensive with an average of £85,756.

In Belfast the volume of sales at 537 was significantly up, indicating a more buoyant market, with South Belfast the highest priced market within the city. The overall average price in Belfast was £141,625, up 2.6%over the quarter but down by 5.7% over the year.



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