RICS and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey, Northern Ireland, June 2018

Northern Ireland’s housing market rounded off the first half of 2018 with house prices rising and local surveyors remaining confident about the outlook for the market, according to the latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey.

Sales expectations among Northern Ireland surveyors are at their highest since last summer, with a net balance of +57% of surveyors here saying that during the next three months they expect to see an increase in the number of houses sold. A net balance of +62% said that they expect a rise in sales activity during the next 12 months – the highest in the UK.

Northern Ireland house prices also continued to move upwards, according to respondents with a +36% increase in surveyors saying they had seen a rise in the past three months.

Looking ahead, surveyors here remain positive about prices in the coming months with a net balance of +31% expecting to see rises in the next quarter and a net balance of +72% saying that they expect house prices to rise in the next year.

However, supply remains the key concern for surveyors. June’s survey points to only a small increase in new instructions to sell (a net balance of +6%) while surveyors suggest that new buyer enquiries increase at a robust rate (a net balance of +29%).

Newly agreed sales grew with a net balance of +14% surveyors saying they had seen more newly agreed sales compared with last month.

RICS Residential Property Spokesman, Samuel Dickey, said: “The latest survey brings to an end the first half of 2018, and the market has performed relatively strongly in this period, despite some political and economic uncertainty. Surveyors also remain confident about the outlook, with the expectation that sales activity will rise and prices will continue to edge upwards. Whilst the private rented sector continues to boom, we also continue to see a strong desire amongst people in Northern Ireland to own their own home. Having an adequate supply of good properties to meet this demand remains the one of the biggest challenges in the market.”

Terry Robb, Head of Personal Banking NI at Ulster Bank, said: “At Ulster Bank, we continue to see a good flow of mortgage interest, and we expect demand to remain strong in the second half of the year. Buying or moving home remains an attractive option for many people, as, despite rising prices, buying in Northern Ireland remains relatively very affordable. We see evidence that people retain a strong desire to own their own home.”

The main findings of the survey were:

The headline price balance for Northern Ireland was +36% in the latest survey, meaning that 36% more surveyors said that prices rose in the past three months than those who said they fell.

The price expectations balance at 31% for the next three months remains positive while sales expectations data (with a net balance of +57%) for this period is the highest in the UK.

Newly agreed sales saw some growth with a net balance of +14% – this is the highest increase seen across the UK.

There was an increase in new buyer enquiries of (+29%) although this was not as marked as the increase seen in May (+45%). New instructions to sell saw a small increase of +6%.

A net balance of +72% of respondents expects prices to rise in the next 12 months, while the balance of those who said they expected a rise in sales in the next 12 months was +62%.