2022 has started strongly. Sales volumes in January are predicted to be 10% higher than their long- term (2012–2021) average and, except for a year ago, are the strongest since 2007 (Dataloft, HMRC). Buyer demand remains steadfast, up 16% year-on-year (Rightmove). Property price growth continues to be sustained; annual price growth in the year to January was at its strongest in over 15 years (Nationwide). Rightmove reported the biggest monthly jump in the asking price of a newly listed property since 1994 and when asked, the majority of agents are still expecting price growth over the next three- and 12-month period.
At 10.7%, annual property price growth in Northern Ireland (based on Q4 2021) is considerably stronger than the 5.2% evident a year ago. The pandemic ‘search for space’ is still playing out in many markets, with prices for detached homes currently seeing the strongest growth of all property types; average prices are up over 11% year-on-year. With office returns and hybrid working now in place, there has been renewed interest in apartment living, and many town and city centre locations are seeing a rise in buyer demand.
Winds of change
Although the quantity of property for sale remains low, with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reporting stock levels per agent at a record low in January (barring the market closure in spring 2020), there are signs of change. New listings in January rose 11% year-on-year, with Rightmove noting a substantial rise in home valuation requests – an indication that many are looking to sell before they buy in current conditions. These should feed through to agents’ books over the coming months. Historically, March is the strongest time to sell, with the highest number of buyer enquiries per property for sale.
Ards and North Down proved the fastest-moving market in Northern Ireland over the course of 2021. In over half of all localities, more than one in every 20 privately owned properties is estimated to have changed hands. 2022 has started with momentum. At 44 days, the average time taken to sell a property in the UK is three weeks quicker than a year ago.
Sunshine and showers
Across the UK, governments are announcing their plans for ‘living with COVID’ and hybrid working is bedding in. With economic growth of 7.5% over the course of 2021, the UK economy is close to its pre-pandemic level. However, consumer confidence remains on edge due to the rising cost of living. Increases in the cost of food and clothing, along with rising fuel and energy prices, look set to squeeze many household incomes. Savings made during the pandemic might provide a cushion in the short term, and while interest rates may well rise from the current 0.5%, they remain low by historic standards.
Properties for sale in Northern Ireland
Belfast, Northern Ireland, 3 bedrooms
This elegant and tastefully decorated three storey semi detached property dates back to the early 1900s. The current vendor has updated and renovated over the years creating a modern low maintenance home yet retaining the charm and character of a property of this period. The accommodation includes a large through lounge\dining room with dual aspect windows while the outside space includes a paved front forecourt and enclosed patio garden with space for outdoor entertaining. Number 114 is ideally situated only a few minutes' walk to Ballyhackamore's bustling village with its excellent diverse shopping areas with a number of retail shops, cafes, offices, restaurants and pubs.
Newry, Northern Ireland, 5 bedrooms
This spacious and well-maintained family home offers four large reception rooms and five upstairs bedrooms and is conveniently situated approximately 3 miles from Newry City Centre within the ever-popular family friendly development of Forest Hills a short distance off the Old Warrenpoint Road. The current owners of this property have meticulously refurbished their home to an extremely high standard. Given its elevation within Forest Hills this property benefits from stunning views of Newry River and onwards towards the Ring of Gullion.
Antrim, Northern Ireland, 3 bedrooms
Situated on a stunning corner site on the Ballymoney Road, this detached family home boasts three bedrooms, two reception rooms and garage, with the benefit of convenience to local Primary and Secondary Schools. Having been lovingly cared for both inside and out, this house will appeal to a wide range of potential purchasers, not only for the location or accommodation but also due to the enclosed gardens and quiet area.
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.