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Northern Ireland Bucks The National Trend Of Slump In House Prices

Northern Ireland house prices have defied the national trend of reducing house prices, according to the Nationwide House Price Index.

From October to December 2023 house prices rose by 4.5%. All other parts of the UK, apart from Scotland saw house prices fall.

The average house price in Northern Ireland, after the rise is £184,593, compared to the UK average of £257,443.

With an overall reduction across the UK of 1.8% only Northern Ireland Scotland saw rises. Scotland experienced a marginal increase of 0.5%.

Nationwide Chief Economist, Robert Gardner said that the total number of transactions by the lender was down by 10%, compared to pre-pandemic figures, and he reflected om what 2024 might hold for house prices.

“There have been some encouraging signs for potential buyers recently, with mortgage rates edging down,” he explained.

“Investors have become more optimistic that the Bank of England has already raised rates far enough to return inflation to target and will reduce rates in the years ahead. This shift in view is important, as it has brought down longer-term interest rates, which underpin fixed mortgage rate pricing.

“Nevertheless, a rapid rebound in activity or house prices in 2024 appears unlikely. While cost-of-living pressures are easing, with the rate of inflation now running below the rate of average wage growth, consumer confidence remains weak and surveyors continue to report subdued levels of new buyer enquiries. Moreover, while markets are projecting that the next Bank Rate move will be down, there are still upward risks to interest rates.

Inflation is declining, but measures of domestic price pressures remain far too high.

“It appears likely that a combination of solid income growth, together with modestly lower house prices and mortgage rates, will gradually improve affordability over time, with housing market activity remaining fairly subdued in the interim. If the economy remains sluggish and mortgage rates moderate only gradually, as we expect, house prices are likely to record another small decline or remain broadly flat (perhaps 0 to -2%) over the course of 2024.”

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