NI sales activity rises as more homes come on the market

The number of Northern Ireland home sales rose for the eighth successive month in February according to the latest RICS and Ulster Bank NI Residential Market Survey.

Activity last month rose at the sharpest rate since July and the latest survey indicates there's no sign of the housing market slowing either.

Surveyors say they expect the number of homes sold to increase over the next three months.

Following the Chancellors budget announcement for the UK, particularly the 95% mortgage guarantee, surveyors say they are confident this will drive further sales activity.

When it comes to prices, there continued to be upward pressure, something that surveyors expect to continue over the three months ahead.

A net balance of 73% reported rising prices in February, whilst a net balance of 34% expects rising prices between March and May.

Samuel Dickey, RICS Northern Ireland Residential Property Spokesman, said: "The Northern Ireland housing market has been very busy most months since restrictions eased last summer and that continued in February. Indeed, there were indications that activity actually intensified with more sales and instructions.

With the measures in the Budget around the extension of the stamp duty holiday as well as the guarantee for 95% mortgages, it is unsurprising that surveyors are also confident that activity will be strong into the months ahead.

Samuel Dickey, RICS Northern Ireland

Terry Robb, Head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank, said: "February continued to be strong in terms of mortgage demand. Despite the restrictions in place at present many people have continued to apply for mortgages and move forward with home purchases and house moves; and of course there are remortgages happening as well.

"Ulster Bank reintroduced 90% mortgages in December and that is part of the story as first-time buyers who had had difficulty raising a deposit are now able to secure a mortgage."