Business news

NI housing market activity remains weak but prices still edging upwards

Posted By:
Ulster Bank

10th Mar 2023

RICS and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey – February 2023

Housing market activity in Northern Ireland remained weak last month with falls in new buyer demand, sales, and listings all reported in the latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey. However, house prices are still edging upwards according to respondents.

A net balance of -4% of Northern Ireland respondents saw new buyer enquiries fall in February. Meanwhile a net balance of -18% of respondents was recorded for newly agreed sales. Looking at supply, a net balance of -3% of respondents saw a decline in new instructions to sell.

Whilst this points to continuing weak market conditions, the rate of fall in each was slower than in January. There was also a modest improvement in the price balance, with NI respondents continuing to see prices edging upwards. A net balance of +25% was recorded for prices in the latest report, up from +17% in the January report.

Whilst this is significantly lower than this time last year, it is higher than in all other UK regions. Indeed, other than Scotland, respondents in all other UK regions are seeing prices falling.

In terms of the outlook, whilst NI respondents expect the market to remain weak over the next three months with potential reductions in sales and prices, they are more positive about the 12-month outlook. Indeed, NI and Scotland are the only UK regions expecting both sales and prices to be higher in a year’s time.

Samuel Dickey, RICS Northern Ireland Residential Property Spokesman, says: “Unsurprisingly, the February survey outcomes point to overall relatively weak market conditions, albeit that there are of course variations between different parts of NI with some areas seeing ongoing good demand. Looking ahead, despite a range of economic challenges, NI respondents overall remain more confident about prices and activity during the next year than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK.”

Terry Robb, Head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank, added: “Market conditions have changed in the past year and demand has softened as a result. However, there continue to be a wide range of mortgage borrowers who want to buy their first home, move house, or remortgage, and it’s important that they continue to be able to avail of mortgage products. Ulster Bank continues to engage with all kinds of borrowers in NI through our range of channels and our local team, and continues to offer a broad range of mortgage products to meet the needs of local customers.”