August homebuyer enquiries rate lowest since onset of Covid-19 pandemic

Credit = PA Images
The drop in enquiries has been put down to a number of factors, including the cost-of-living crisis and wider economic challenges Credit: PA Images

Homebuyer enquiries fell in August at the steepest rate since the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) survey shows that the cost-of-living crisis and wider economic challenges impacted market conditions.

House prices, however, continued to rise during the period and there's no change expected in price in the short to medium-term.

August was the second consecutive month where a new buyer enquiry drop was seen. Back in July it was relatively sharp at -20%, which makes its the weakest return for buyer demand since May 2020.

As for supply, survey respondents suggested there was a marginal increase in the number of properties coming onto the market in August, however anecdotally surveyors continue to report significant shortages of available homes.

Samuel Dickey, RICS Northern Ireland Residential Property Spokesman, said: “Northern Ireland is seeing some scaling back of enquiries and demand from extremely high levels earlier in the year.

"This was very much expected. But whilst lower than it was, demand is still outstripping supply. We continue to see properties selling, and asking prices being met and sometimes exceeded.

"We are likely to see this lack of supply to be a significant factor in the market for the foreseeable and explains why surveyors expect price growth over the coming 12 months.” 

Meanwhile Terry Robb, Head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank, added: “Mortgage demand has been very good year-to-date, and our expectation is that there will continue to be good demand from homebuyers in Northern Ireland.

"With regard to existing mortgage customers, we continue to see a strong demand for fixed rate mortgages as more and more customers are looking for certainty at this time"