Northern Ireland house prices continued to rise in December despite a slowdown in the United Kingdom market, according to a new housing study.
Northern Ireland's house prices continue to rise steadily
November's interest rate hike did not seem to affect prices in the province which rose by an average of about 4%.
The survey, by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Ulster Bank, points to "frenzied activity" by Republic of Ireland investors.
They were spurred on by lower Eurozone interest rates, the study states.
The survey published on Tuesday, said Northern Ireland prices rose faster than any other region during December, followed closely by London and Scotland.
"House price growth in the UK as a whole eased back in December following the movement in interest rates to 5%, but not so in Northern Ireland where home owners were given some Christmas cheer and first-time buyers were consigned to even more misery," said RICS NI spokesman Tom McClelland.
Fourteen per cent of Northern Ireland chartered surveyors responding to the survey reported rises of 8% or above, with 34% recording increases of between 5 and 8%.
Head of Mortgages at Ulster Bank, Derek Wilson, said that the demand for property had shown little sign of easing in the run up to Christmas.
"A shortage in supply and robust demand, largely from investors and some determined first-time buyers, meant that by-and-large Northern Ireland house prices defied the interest rate hikes impacting on most other regions," he said.
"The demand from Republic of Ireland investors coupled with our strong local economic conditions could well mean that the housing market will confound the predictions of many pundits who expect this month's interest rise to dampen growth. Only time will tell."
RICS covers all aspects of real estate, property, construction and associated environmental issues.
It has 110,000 members globally and represents, regulates and promotes the work of property professionals throughout 120 countries.