Northern Ireland 'rents rise as house prices fall'

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Rent prices in Northern Ireland have risen even as house prices fell, an independent rental website suggests.

A report by City Lets found falling house prices coupled with a lack of mortgage finance led to an increase in house rental prices across Belfast.

While property prices fell steadily from January to September 2010, rents rose by about 7%, said the report.

Citylets managing director Thomas Ashdown said economic uncertainty made people less likely to buy property.

"Demand in the rental market is very squarely underpinned now by a lack of availability or a lack of available credit finance or too expensive credit finance," he said.

"In addition, there are a number of people who would perhaps be in a position to buy but they are very wary about making the step on to the sales market.

"As a result, people are staying in rental property longer or waiting to see how the market is going to behave before moving forward."

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