Mid Ulster house prices jump almost 15% despite overall downward trend

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The average cost of a house in Mid Ulster has grown almost 15 per cent to just over £142,000 in the last year, according to new Ulster University research.

The university's quarterly house price index, which was carried out in conjunction with Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Progressive Building Society, also shows how detached bungalows have bolstered figures.

The average house price in Mid Ulster now stands at £142,321 - an increase of exactly 14.7% - but the strongest performing sector has been detached bungalows which have seen their average price rise at 12.7% to £155,200.

The research also highlights a slow rate of growth in relation to detached houses with an average price of £187,533 (1.1%) and semi-detached houses averaging £113,517 are down by 0.7%. But detached houses are the strongest performing sector - going up by 6%.

But in reverse of the trend in Mid Ulster, Northern Ireland as a whole has seen a decrease in the average house price of 1.3% over the year and 2.6% over the quarter to £150,778.

The university's research also indicates a dip in the volume of sales - in contrast to relatively buoyant conditions in early 2016.

But despite both an overall decrease in prices and volume of sales, the research suggests both are still operating at healthy levels.

The negative change may reflect seasonal impacts on the market and a more hesitant market potentially influenced by economic uncertainly.

Lead researcher, Professor Stanley McGreal from Ulster University said: "This latest research highlights an overall downward trend in the local housing market.

"The weaker performance of the residential market is reflected across each of the property types.

"At a regional level there is some variability with a number of areas actually seeing an increase in overage average price over the quarter including East Antrim, Londonderry and Strabane, Antrim and Ballymena, North Coast, Mid Ulster, Mid and South Down, and Craigavon and Armagh.

"Ulster University’s price analysis research is supported by estate agents who have a mixed opinion on the current state of the market. Their concerns could reflect the uncertainty of Brexit and the varying forecasts of the UK’s GDP dropping.

Likewise, changes in taxation and stamp duty allowances brought forward in early 2016 may now be having a delayed impact on the market."

Michael Boyd, Progressive Deputy Chief Executive and Finance Director added: "The last quarter of the year is traditionally a slower time for domestic property sales, but encouragingly transaction numbers remained at relatively strong levels.

"At Progressive, mortgage application levels were 7% higher for the last quarter of 2016 than twelve months ago.

"Regionally the highest property prices and volumes continue in the Greater Belfast area.

"While eight regions across Northern Ireland witnessed a decrease in the average house price, the regions with increasing prices were predominantly those further from Belfast and those areas which had seen least price appreciation in previous quarters.

"Looking ahead, the next few months may test the resolve of the local housing market as we will see whether continuing low borrowing costs and lack of housing supply coming onto the market outweigh the uncertainties over Brexit and local political concerns.

"Despite these uncertainties, the economic fundamentals remain relatively firm for house buyers with housing affordable, high employment and historically low mortgage rates."

The Housing Executive’s Acting Head of Research, Tony Steed, said: "Although the housing market slowed a little in the final quarter of 2016, the overall average price during the year was higher than in 2015, continuing the recent trend of gradual, and more sustainable, house price growth.

"However, with political and economic uncertainty, and the likelihood of increased pressure on households’ disposable incomes, 2017 may bring its own

challenges for the local housing market."

The full report can be viewed at ulster.ac.uk/housing-market- reports

Here's the full list of average prices across NI for 2016's fourth quarter:

Northern Ireland - All £150,778

Belfast-All £162,682

North Belfast £107,419

South Belfast £206,350

East Belfast £174,023

West Belfast £121,389

North Down £177,002

Lisburn £189,919

East Antrim £118,525

L'Derry/Strabane £111,863

Antrim Ballymena £134,831

Coleraine/Limavady/North Coast £161,061

Enniskillen/Fermanagh/S.Tyrone £145,187

Mid Ulster £142,321

Mid and South Down £151,472

Craigavon/Armagh £132,240