Northern Ireland

No improvement in housing market according to RICS

Houses
Image caption Housing prices are expected to remain static for the next three months.

There was no improvement in Northern Ireland's housing market last month, according to a survey published on Tuesday.

More than three quarters of those surveyed said they expected prices to remain static for the next quarter.

The majority said they also expected the number of transactions to remain flat, although a quarter did anticipate an increase.

The survey was carried out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Tom McClelland, from, the RICS said the impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review on October 20 was a cause for concern in the short term.

"Our dependence on the public sector leaves us particularly vulnerable," he said.

"There is now a realisation that the freak economic conditions between 2003 and 2007, which helped drive the property bubble, are unlikely to be replicated.

"Housing is no longer an investment commodity with 'never-ending' capital growth. Investors still in the market look for yields and value."

Derek Wilson, head of lending products at Ulster Bank, which sponsors the report said the imminent cuts on public spending were having an impact on demand for mortgages.

"Whilst conditions are challenging, we remain strongly committed to supporting Northern Ireland," he said.

The government's own house price index, also published on Tuesday, showed a slight rise of 0.7% in UK house prices in August compared with July.

However Northern Ireland showed an 18.8% drop in prices compared to a 9.3% rise in England, and a 9% increase in Wales.

In Scotland, prices were up 0.4% year-on-year.

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