Experts are predicting a hike in Northern Ireland property prices
By Claire McNeilly
On the up: House prices in Northern Ireland are expected to rise during the next three months, industry experts have said.
House prices in Northern Ireland are expected to rise during the next three months, industry experts have said.
The latest residential market survey from Ulster Bank and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) also said there was little sign of uncertainty from the EU referendum and stamp duty changes affecting the local housing market.
Surveyors here are expecting a rise in sales in the coming three months based on a strong performance during the first quarter of 2016.
By contrast, experts have predicted that UK house price inflation will slow over the coming months, particularly in London.
RICS Northern Ireland residential property spokesman Samuel Dickey said there was still a shortage of new houses coming onto the local market. "The changes in stamp duty, in addition to the upcoming EU referendum and the forthcoming Assembly election, are combining to create uncertainty in the economy," he said.
"However, there is little sign of this impacting on the Northern Ireland housing market at this stage in terms of expectations for prices and sales.
"The ongoing lack of supply in the market is certainly a factor in this, acting to put upward pressure on prices, as well as the fact that Northern Ireland's housing market remains in recovery mode, with prices and sales still significantly below their peak."
Data from the latest survey suggests that a net balance of more than 55% of surveyors reported an increase in prices in the past three months.
More than 46% also expect prices to continue rising between April and June, with 37% of surveyors expecting sales activity to increase over the same period.
RICS said it expected Northern Ireland house prices to rise by about 5% over 2016.
Sean Murphy, regional managing director, branch and private banking at Ulster Bank, said surveyors were optimistic about expectations for both prices and sales activity.
"March brought the first quarter of 2016 to a close and the latest survey suggests that it was a relatively strong start to the year in terms of prices," he said.
"Mortgage activity at Ulster Bank remains strong and we expect to continue that in the months ahead."