Northern Ireland

Fear of public spending cuts affects NI housing market

Houses
Image caption Prices may have fallen 60% from their peak in some areas

The prospect of public spending cuts are having an impact on the Northern Ireland housing market, according to a new survey.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said 39% of those questioned reported falling prices.

In the survey 51% reported prices remaining the same but only 10% said prices are rising.

The survey cited the public spending environment as one of the key reasons for continued uncertainty.

'60% fall'

RICS Northern Ireland spokesman, Tom McClelland, said: "We see some positive indications in that transaction levels appear to have increased this year to some degree and when houses are priced properly, there is evidence that they are selling.

"In some areas and sectors, we believe that prices have come down as much as 60% from peak levels, which is attracting first time buyers and investors.

"However, there is no doubt that the public spending environment, and the prospect of large cuts to come, will impact significantly on Northern Ireland's public sector-dependent economy.

"And there is no doubt that this has implications for the housing market," he added.

Derek Wilson, head of lending products at Ulster Bank, which sponsors the report said: "There are a number of factors impacting on potential buyers' purchasing decisions and they will, understandably, make a judgement based on their own individual circumstances."

The West Midlands and the East Midlands are the only two regions in the UK showing a higher proportion of chartered surveyors reporting falling prices than Northern Ireland.

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