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New NI Housing Data

Aug 26 2021 04:06:00

How has the pandemic impacted home buying trends in N.Ireland?


Housing sales activity in Northern Ireland is running at rates not seen in 13 years. With that in mind, we’ve decided to take a closer look at the latest House Price Index statistics released by the Land and Property Services last week to provide some insight to the Northern Ireland property market for Q2 2021.


I’ve analysed the figures in more detail reflecting on how the Newry, Mourne & Down sector has performed individually, providing a greater insight for both current and future clients.


House prices in all council areas showed an increase over the 12 months between Q2 2020 and Q2 2021, with our district of Newry, Mourne and Down showing and increased percentage of 11.3% during this time. Placing our district 3rd of the 11 boroughs surveyed.


At present, the current average house price in Newry & Mourne is £161,994 with average house value in Northern Ireland being £153,449.


Indeed, with the value of the average by to let property across the UK rising by 5.6 per cent since 2020 to approximately £258,900, it proves that there’s value to be had across the North of Ireland for those wishing to invest in comparison to our UK counterparts.


But in a major survey of first-time buyers and home-movers in the north, PropertyPal chief economist Jordan Buchanan cautions that buyer demand is beginning to moderate from its peak levels in May/June and activity is likely to soften to more sustainable levels and even flatten altogether later in the year.


Various studies have shown house prices in the north to have enjoyed double-digit growth over the last year as the pandemic has been accompanied by an increase in wealth, predominately for richer households as assets appreciated and spending declined due to lockdown.


Jordan said: “We've all spent a considerable amount of time at home since the initial lockdown last March, which naturally has forced a re-think about our homes in terms of layout, functionality and general satisfaction.


“Homes quickly became offices and classrooms and expectedly, access to stable and fast internet connectivity moved up the priority list for many households last year.


“But buyer attitudes have shifted again as we cautiously move out of lockdown and back to some form of normality. Lessons over the last year will impact lifestyle choices for a considerable period, if not indefinitely.”


He added: “The garden area/outdoor space is the number one property feature highlighted by almost 90 per cent of the 1,800 first-time buyers and home-movers who contributed to our survey.


“The debate amongst return-to-office or hybrid working will continue to influence buying patterns for the cohort who are able to work from home.


“It is noteworthy that being close to work was the third most important factor for first-time buyers but much less so for home-movers, who tend to be on average 10 years older.”


Of those who bought a property in the last 12 months, only seven per cent said the stamp duty holiday was the main reason for doing so.


Nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of respondents said they think prices will rise over the next 12 months, with almost 90 per cent of buyers surveyed saying that garden/outdoor space was the most important property feature when purchasing a new home.


While there are some tentative signs that the market activity may have peaked, I’m of the opinion that with demand outweighing supply in Newry, Mourne and Down, the housing market will remain buoyant for investors, first time buyers and home movers for some time to come.


Aaron Kernan

KPS Senior Sales Negotiator