Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland house prices show mixed picture

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Media captionLatest figures from the NI Residential Property Price Index show there are variations in the housing market across different parts of Northern Ireland

House prices in Northern Ireland showed an annual growth of 4% last year, but price growth stalled between September and December.

Prices had risen in the previous two quarters, so the latest figures suggest that any recovery will be gradual.

However, the annual 4% rise, compared to the same period in 2012, is the biggest annual growth rate since 2007.

The figures are from the NI Residential Property Price Index, which analyses almost all sales, including cash deals.

'Mixed picture'

The average price is just under £99,000 - which is still more than 50% below peak values in 2007.

The figures for the final quarter of 2013 show a mixed picture across property types.

Detached properties fell by 1% over the quarter, semis and terraces were unchanged while apartment prices rose by 6%.

That puts the average detached price at £154,609, semis at £98,643, terraces at £66,034 and apartments at £82,081.

There were also variations across different areas, with Belfast and its suburbs showing a rise of 1% over the quarter.

The north, south, and west of Northern Ireland saw 1% quarterly falls, with house prices in the east unchanged.

However, all areas saw annual growth of between 2% and 6%.

The number of sales has continued to increase, with just over 4,800 recorded in the last three months of 2013.

'Confidence'

This is a 28% increase over the year, a 16% increase over the quarter and the highest quarterly figure since 2007.

Northern Ireland Finance Minister Simon Hamilton said the growing number of sales showed increasing confidence in the market.

"Increased activity in the market is particularly good news for first time purchasers and those wishing to move up in a more affordable and stable Northern Ireland housing market," he said.

"The 4% increase over 2013 in house prices tells us the Northern Ireland property market is moving in the right direction.

"This is the highest positive annual change since the fourth quarter of 2007, and is another sign of confidence in the market."

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