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Last Updated: Monday, 28 February, 2005, 07:58 GMT
House prices continuing to rise
Houses for sale
House prices keep on rising
The decade-long growth in house prices in Northern Ireland is continuing, according to the latest figures.

The University of Ulster's house price index has found an annual growth rate of 13% in prices during the fourth quarter of 2004.

The overall average price of a house in Northern Ireland is now 118,313.

The report, based on a sample of 2,028 open market transactions, says the House Price Index has hit a new peak of 448.19.

The authors of the index, Professor Alastair Adair, Professor Stanley McGreal and Suzanne Allen, said there were mixed messages.

"The report highlights the mixed messages coming from the current survey with, on the one hand, annual price growth back into double digit figures while, more in line with expectations, the quarterly increase at the end of 2004 was 2.9%," the report said.

The fortunes of the market remain inextricably linked to the general health of the economy
Alan Bridle
Bank of Ireland

The Bank of Ireland's Head of Research in Northern Ireland, economist Alan Bridle, said, the findings portray a market that is "bubbling along".

"It may be, however, that the latest annual reading is something of a 'high water-mark' and we anticipate a return to high single digit price growth in 2005, perhaps 7%," he said.

"The fortunes of the market remain inextricably linked to the general health of the economy, the cost of borrowing and the affordability constraints on first time buyers."

The Housing Executive's Head of Research, Joe Frey, said that the unexpectedly high rate of house price increase for 2004 added to his concerns about the difficulties facing first-time buyers in the market place.

He stressed that it was important that the statutory agencies and the private sector continue to work together to address them.

The highest priced Belfast location remains South Belfast with an average of 141,645, East Belfast with an overall average price of 132,951 is the next highest priced location.

Price levels in West Belfast averaged 81,990 but have fallen behind that of North Belfast where the average price of 89,320 is showing a more buoyant performance.

In North Down, the overall average price of 133,204 represents a highly significant rate of increase of 17.27%.

Price

Lisburn also saw a substantial rate of annual increase with the overall average price up by 16.29% to 141,324.

For the East Antrim market the overall average price of 101,078 has increased by 11.49% over the year and by 3.71% over the quarter.

In the north and north west, the picture remains variable. In Antrim/Ballymena the overall average price is up to 104,825 an increase of 2.17% compared to the fourth quarter of 2003 but virtually unchanged compared to the previous quarter.

In Coleraine, Limavady and the North Coast the overall average price has increased appreciably over the year by 16.22% to 127,742.

In Londonderry/Strabane, the overall average price has risen substantially to 107,678, an increase of 23.19% compared to the final quarter of 2003.

In the west, the Mid-Ulster market has increased to 128,861 representing an annual rate of growth of 23.05% compared to the fourth quarter of 2003.

In the south, Craigavon/Armagh experienced an annual increase of 10.58% to 110,116 which continuing the upward price movement within this market area.

Mid & South Down, with an average of 125,086 showed a more variable performance compared to recent quarters with the average price up by 6.50% for the year but down by 4.35% for the last quarter of 2004.

Annual percentage increases by property type
Market sector Annual change
Terraced house 13.60%
Semi-detached house 14.80%
Detached house 14.02%
Semi-detached bungalow 19.13%
Detached bungalow 16.66%
Apartment 2.67%
Source: University of Ulster Quarterly House Price Index


Average house prices by region
Location Average price Q4
Northern Ireland - All 118,313
Belfast - All 112,849
North Belfast 89,320
South Belfast 141,645
East Belfast 132,951
West Belfast 81,990
North Down 133,204
Lisburn 141,324
East Antrim 101,078
Londonderry/Strabane 107,678
Antrim/Ballymena 104,825
Coleraine/Limavady/N Coast 127,742
Mid Ulster 128,861
Enniskillen/Fermanagh/S Tyrone 123,166
Mid Ulster 128,861
Mid & South Down 125,086
Craigavon/Armagh 110,116
Source: University of Ulster Quarterly House Price Index




BBC NEWS:VIDEO AND AUDIO
BBC NI's Julie Flanagan reports:
"Northern Ireland is still enjoying substantial growth"



SEE ALSO:
First-time homebuyer debt rises
23 Feb 05 |  Business
Houses 'breach 100,000 UK-wide'
19 Feb 05 |  Business
'No downturn' in housing market
06 Dec 04 |  Northern Ireland


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