RICS survey shows house hunters returning

That’s according to the latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey.

New homebuyer enquiries in Northern Ireland were up for the second consecutive month in October, following on from five successive months of decline in the lead up to and just after the EU vote. However, the number of new properties coming onto the market fell for the third time in four months – a trend that has been continuing for well over two years.

As a result, sales expectations for the three months ahead eased, and prices continue to edge upwards, fuelled by the constrained supply. And respondents expect prices to continue moving upwards in the three months ahead.

RICS Residential Property Spokesman, Samuel Dickey, said, “The dire shortage of available housing in Northern Ireland is continuing to push prices upwards, regardless of the uncertainty linked to the ongoing discussions surrounding Brexit. We need to see measures put in place to increase housing supply. This is a vital part of addressing long term economic and social need in Northern Ireland.”

Sean Murphy, Managing Director, Branch Banking at Ulster Bank, added, “With a very low interest rate environment, it is an affordable time to borrow, and we are seeing a growing number of mortgage enquiries. New or existing customers can take advantage of the some of Ulster Bank’s lowest mortgage rates on offer; including 1.94% on a 60% LTV 2 year fixed rate deal with no product fee. With limited housing supply, the challenge for buyers is to find quality, affordable homes to meet their needs.”

The main findings were as follows:

– The headline price balance for Northern Ireland was +37 in the latest survey, meaning that 37% more surveyors said that prices rose in the past three months than those who said they fell.
– The price expectations balance at +33, remains in positive territory for the fourth consecutive month. Meanwhile, sales expectations data (+23) remains healthy, although eased since last month.
– The new buyer enquiries balance was positive for the second month in succession at +26. The new instructions balance was negative for the third time in four months (-26).