- Expert View
- Market Trends
- Performance by Property Type
- Performance by Region
- Average House Price by Region
Northern Ireland Quarterly House Price Index for Q4 2012
This survey analyses the performance of the Northern Ireland housing market during the first quarter of 2013, the months of January, February and March.
The report is concerned with trends and spatial patterns in the housing market drawing comparisons with the first quarter of 2012, as a measure of annual change, and with the forth quarter of 2012, as an indicator of quarterly change. The report is produced by the University of Ulster in partnership with Bank of Ireland UK and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive
A market best reviewed in segments
Head of Research
Bank of Ireland
The mini-revival in house sales in Northern Ireland continued during Q1 with the largest sample of reported transactions in the quarterly survey since Q4 2007. While acknowledging low base effects in the statistics, activity levels in the market during the first 3 months of 2013 were up over 50% on the same period in 2012. The figures may appear a little more positive in the context of the few weeks of particularly adverse weather conditions that prevailed during March and the civil disturbances in January.
The survey continues to highlight significant variances by geography – the Belfast market has been especially busy over the last quarter, accounting for almost one third of sales while conditions in some of the provincial locations and more rural locations remain tougher. As in previous surveys, the more densely populated commuter locations of North Down and Lisburn continue to post relatively strong performances on both the quarterly and annual comparisons.
Higher demand from both first time buyers at the new price points coupled with investors attracted by rental yields on some properties are reported as key drivers of increased activity while some modest loosening in the mortgage market, partly as a result of the UK Funding for Lending Scheme, may also be a positive influence.
Seasonal trends should be supportive of higher sales volumes over the next few months while as we look ahead to the remainder of 2013 and with the average price having now declined by around 50% from peak, the downside risks now seem limited. Short-term movements will of course continue to be strongly influenced by the precise mix of property sales during each quarter.
Head of Economics & Research
Bank of Ireland Northern Ireland
General Market Trends
This report provides evidence of a housing market that is starting to emerge from a long period of weak performance. The statistics represented in this report give tentative support to the view that the housing market may now be entering into a period of recovery though performance remains highly variable and the market is vulnerable to shocks of a differing nature. For example the prolonged winter period appears to have impacted negatively and extended the seasonal effects that tend to occur in the first quarter.
The overall average price of residential property in Northern Ireland for the first quarter of 2013 is £131,128, a figure which on first sight is seemingly lower than for recent quarters. However a large part of this variation is a result of a change in sample mix arising from differences in the volume of sales by property type. The weighted index, which has been the preferred measure for these surveys and takes into consideration the respective change for each property type and their weighting, indicates that when the sample mix is allowed for there has been a 1.9% increase in house prices at the aggregate level over the year.
Performance by Property Type
As reported in recent surveys performance by property type remains variable with mixed messages concerning price trends.
Annual performance provides a snapshot comparing the current average price with corresponding statistics for the first quarter of 2012. Given the relatively weaker market conditions in terms of transaction evidence at the start of 2012, the comparative performance still captures these influences leading to relatively wide variations in price change across the main property types. This is apparent with four property types increasing in average price over the year but with the other two still experiencing lower average prices. The strongest annual performance has been for detached houses (£215,261) with the overall average price relative to the first quarter of 2012 up by 6.4%. Detached bungalows (£145,786) also increased but at a lower rate of 3.1%. The terraced/townhouse sector has performed strongly (£85,351) over the year up by 5.5% indicating that price growth has been across the market and not confined to the detached sector. The apartment sector (£102,959) has also performed better over the year up by 2.8%. However, on the downside, the average price (£103,180) of semi-detached bungalows is lower by 11.5%, but as noted earlier this sector of the market is small and makes little impact on the overall weighted performance. However, of more significance is the reduced average price of semi-detached houses (£124,605) down by 5.3% over the year.
Annual % change and average price
|Market Sector||Annual Change||Average Price Quarter 1 2013 |
Performance by Region
At the regional level, trends are again highly variable with some markets showing signs of uplift but other areas experiencing a significant downward movement in prices. For certain regions, prices and variability of price trends tend to be a function of a constrained evidence base and thin markets in terms of transaction evidence.
|Location||Average Price Quarter 4|
|Northern Ireland - All||£131,128|
Recent reports have highlighted an improving market in Belfast, however, the message from this survey is more mixed. In terms of transaction evidence, it is apparent that the volume of sales is up (440 for this survey) but the overall average price (£135,385) is lower. The latter partly reflects the high concentration of terrace/townhouses and apartments in this survey for Belfast (collectively 52%) and the relatively low volume of detached property (18%).
|Belfast - All||£135,385|
|Belfast Metropolitan Area
Within the commuter zone of the Belfast Metropolitan Area, the three local markets continue to display contrasting positions with North Down and Lisburn displaying strong growth in average price levels but East Antrim performing less well.
For North Down, the overall average price (£183,292) is up over the year by 16.1% and has also strengthened over the last quarter (up by 9.4%).
|North and North West
The overall picture in the North and North West is one of weaker markets during the first quarter of 2013 though performance remains variable.
For Antrim/Ballymena the overall average price (£97,171) is significantly lower this quarter having shown distinct signs of improving towards the end of 2012.
For the Coleraine/Limavady/North Coast market, the overall average price (£119,934) is down slightly relative to the final quarter of 2012 by 0.9%, but 6.8% lower than first quarter of 2012.
In the Derry/Strabane market, a picture similar to that for the final quarter of 2012 prevails. The overall average price (£89,770) is down relative to the first quarter of 2012 but has improved slightly over the quarter.
|L'derry / Strabane||£89,770|
|Antrim / Ballymena||£97,171|
|Coleraine / Limavady / N. Coast||£119,934|
The two markets in the West of Northern Ireland are still characterised by fluctuating and relatively low house prices.
The Mid-Ulster market with an overall average price of £105,225 represents a slight improvement up by 2.8% relative to the final quarter of 2012 (£102,400) but when compared to the first quarter of 2012 the average price is significantly below that pertaining a year ago.
The Enniskillen/ Fermanagh/ South Tyrone market shows similar characteristics to that for Mid-Ulster.
|Enniskillen / Fermanagh / S. Tyrone||£86,197|
The picture for the South of Northern Ireland reflects uncertainties in the market during the first quarter of 2013.
For Craigavon/Armagh, the overall average price (£100,482) is slightly lower over the year by 1.5% but 9.8% below that for the final quarter of 2012
For Mid & South Down, the overall average sale price (£136,258) is consistent with the trend for the latter half of 2012: fourth quarter (£133,106) and third quarter (£134,191).
|Mid & South Down||£136,258|
|Craigavon / Armagh||£100,482|
Average House Price by Region
The long-term house price index is calculated relative to price levels for each property type at the base quarter for the survey, the final quarter of 1984. The overall index at 487.09 is lower for this survey.
The pattern of the house price index since 2009 is one of uneven performance supporting opinion that recovery in the Northern Ireland housing market is likely to be highly variable. The current survey underlines this contention with rising prices over the year but lower prices over the quarter.