The housing market remains busy. Compared to the last ‘normal’ market of 2019, buyer enquiries are up 31% and mortgage approvals and sales are up by 12% and 11% respectively. However, there are half as many properties available to buy and stock levels are down 55% (Rightmove, HMRC, Bank of England). The prolonged mismatch between demand and supply continues to support prices. On average, properties are selling subject to contract in just 31 days, the quickest time ever recorded. With competition for properties remaining high, Rightmove report that asking prices have hit their fourth consecutive record high in as many months.
Over 433,000 homes in the UK changed hands in the first four months of 2022, making this the third busiest start to a year since 2007. Last year was an exceptional year due to Covid-19 and 2016 saw a surge prior to the introduction of the 3% additional homes surcharge. Except for last year, April 2022 has been the busiest since 2007 (Dataloft, HMRC). Lisbon and Castlereagh, and Ards and North Down are currently the most active housing markets in Northern Ireland. More than one in every 20 properties in these areas has changed hands in the past year.
A perfect storm
Economic headwinds are gaining momentum. Expectations of global and UK economic growth have been pared back, while consumer confidence has plummeted to its lowest level since records began in 1974. Optimism is weaker than during the global financial crisis, Brexit or Covid-19 (GfK). The Covid recovery, war in Ukraine and rising energy and food prices, alongside a strong labour market and low unemployment, have created a perfect storm. Inflation is pushing a 40-year high. Thanks to fixed-rate mortgages, many households are cushioned from the impact of the latest base rate rise, but day-to-day budgets are increasingly feeling the squeeze.
Double-digit property price growth remains evident in localities across Northern Ireland, with annual price growth currently stronger than it was a year ago (ONS, UK HPI). Across Northern Ireland there is around two months of available stock left to sell, down by almost half on the historical norm.
Slow gear change
For many, the question is when, not if, the property market will start to moderate. However, any gear change is liable to be slow and steady, and not an emergency brake as was the case in the global financial crisis of 2008. Forecasters still anticipate positive price growth over the course of the year. Market fundamentals remain strong. A strong desire to move remains in the minds of many and there is a shortage of properties, compounded by data indicating that new home completions remain below pre-Covid levels and short of the government’s 300,000 homes target.
Properties for sale in Northern Ireland
Armagh, County Armagh, 4 bedrooms
This beautiful detached property is nested in a highly sought-after area of Armagh, this property is in a prime location to enjoy the pleasures of the rural countryside as well as the amenities of the city centre. This fabulous property boasts a kitchen, lounge, utility, downstairs WC, four bedrooms (master with ensuite) and a family bathroom suite. This is your opportunity to acquire and exquisitely finished four-bed family home with quality finishes throughout.
Situated on this truly beautiful site with excellent privacy and stunning views over the surrounding countryside, Homes Independent are thrilled to bring to the market this spacious four-bedroom house. Offering four bedrooms (one on the ground floor), en suite, dressing rooms, kitchen and utility room with integrated appliances and superb privacy, our agents are sure this property will exceed the expectations of many potential viewers. The large gardens in lawn to the side and rear of this property.
Lurgan, County Armagh, 6 bedrooms
Number 16 is set apart from the rest, created by its owners with love careful consideration and attention to detail only a mere 16 years previously offering all the conveniences of modern living. Created with family living in mind there is a seamlessly open plan flow to the ground floor with a contemporary design and style, with the wallpaper, lights, soft furnishings all by Thomas Vaughan interior design. Offering the ‘best of both worlds - ideally situated in a peaceful rural setting on the shores of Lough Neagh yet having the convenience of a local shop with post office and petrol station nearby.
As property prices and demand continue to rise, sell your property with experts in the property industry this spring. Contact your local Guild Member today.