RICS and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey – August 2023
House prices in Northern Ireland continued to rise but at the slowest rate outside of the 2020 Covid lockdown in over 10 years, according to the August RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey.
A net balance of 7% of NI-based respondents noted an increase in house prices in the August survey, the lowest this figure has been since May 2020 when coronavirus restrictions were in force. Outside of that, the figures is the lowest since May 2013. However, that said, Northern Ireland is now the only region across the UK where prices are still rising albeit marginally so.
Surveyors are understandably cautious about the outlook, with regard to price expectations a net balance of -6% of respondents was reported. It is worth noting though that Northern Ireland surveyors are less pessimistic about the outlook than the UK average, where -67% of respondents expect a fall in prices over the next quarter.
Looking at new buyer enquiries, a net balance of -20% of Northern Ireland respondents reported a fall. This compared to -34% in July and -49% in June. Supply was also reported to have fallen in the latest report, with a net balance of -37% of surveyors reporting that the number of properties coming onto the market was down.
With limited demand and supply, sales have been impacted, with a net balance of -24% of NI surveyors reporting a fall through the month of August. Limited supply and demand may be impacting respondents’ outlook, with sales expected to fall flat over the next quarter.
Garrett O’Hare, Managing Director of Bradley NI says: “We’re seeing a continued easing in demand, which is unsurprising given interest rate rises. But whilst demand is lower, and buyers are more cautious, where properties are priced appropriately we are seeing good demand and sales. Anecdotally, surveyors are also reporting particularly strong demand for new builds. Although surveyors aren’t as optimistic looking forward as we’ve seen in previous surveys, they are more upbeat compared to UK counterparts, particularly when it comes to pricing.”
Terry Robb, Head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank, added: “As we move out of the summer months and into the autumn, we will likely seen an uplift in mortgage demand. Whilst there is perhaps understandably caution in the market, we know that many people in Northern Ireland continue to want to own or move home, and we are working to support customers with their homebuying aspirations.”