by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

Buyer demand remained firm in the Northern Ireland housing market during April, according to the latest RICS and Ulster Bank NI Residential Market Survey. New buyer enquiries rose according to a net balance of 77% of respondents, and newly agreed sales increased according to a net balance of 63%.

However, the survey results suggest that the flow of properties being listed for sale is not keeping pace with buyer demand.

This mismatch between supply and demand is seen as a key factor in driving up house prices, with growth reportedly accelerating in Northern Ireland in April. A net balance of 79% of NI respondents said that prices rose in April.

In terms of the outlook, Northern Ireland surveyors remain confident for sales activity, with a net balance of +56% of respondents saying that they expect the number of homes sold to increase over the next three months. However, this was lower than the +63% recorded the previous month.

When it comes to prices, a net balance of 79% expects rising prices between May and July.

Samuel Dickey, RICS Northern Ireland Residential Property Spokesman, says: “More properties are coming onto the market, but they aren’t coming on at a sufficient rate to meet buyer demand. However, as life normalises more, that may encourage an increasing number of vendors to put their homes on the market. That would help boost sales and perhaps help take some of the heat out of the strong prices rises that we have seen in recent months.”

Terry Robb, Head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank, said: “April saw the start of the second quarter of the year but there was little change in terms of mortgage demand. A wide range of borrowers have continued to apply for mortgages and move forward with home purchases and house moves; and of course there are remortgages happening as well. Looking to the three months ahead, our pipeline suggests that mortgage activity will continue to be strong.”

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Ulster Bank's Terry Robb



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