Tuesday, 28 February 2012


HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have revealed that more property transactions took place this January than during any January since 2008.

Traditionally, sales in the new year decline, before picking up again in the spring, which saw property sales fall from 86,000 in December to 64,000. However, this total stands in sharp contrast with the 52,000 sales of January 2011.

On 24th March, the 1% stamp duty rate for first-time buyers will be re-introduced for properties worth £125,000-£250,000. Suggestions have indicated that the imminent end to the stamp duty concession has encouraged first-time buyers at the start of 2012.

In addition, gross mortgage lending that month reached £10.5bn, up 10% on the year before.

In spite of these figures, many are still finding it difficult to get a mortgage, and continued economic pressure has discouraged many more from making such a large financial commitment. By way of comparison, 115,000 transactions were recorded at the height of market activity in January 2007.

Property Sales See New Year Drop, says HMRC - BBC News

Thursday, 23 February 2012


The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has revealed that UK mortgage lending increased in January as compared with the same month in 2011.

Gross lending was at £10.5bn, up 10% on the previous year, though down 12% on December, in keeping with the usual seasonal fall.

Although this marks the sixth month in a row of higher year-on-year lending, CML chief economist Bob Parnell remains cautious: ‘We should be careful not to overstate its significance, given the very low levels of activity we are starting from and the protracted and difficult economic rebalancing that the UK and other countries have embarked upon.’

It has also been surmised that the extra activity is due in part to the stamp duty concession, with first-time buyers attempting to get onto the housing ladder before the 1% duty rate is reintroduced on the 24th March.

Mortgage Lending up on a Year Ago, says CML - BBC News

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


With falling house prices and continued economic pressure, Northern Ireland’s private rented sector continues to expand.

High deposits have taken more buyers further from the housing ladder, with renting the only available solution to their accommodation needs. Many low-income households and potential first-time buyers alike are depending on the role of the rental market at a time when purchasing a home has proven unaffordable.

However, there has been some concern that changes to the Housing Benefit system being introduced at present will impact negatively on the sector, and those looking for rentals.

‘There is a growing concern among housing professionals’, said Joe Frey of the Housing Executive, ‘that the changes to the Housing Benefit system currently being introduced on a rolling basis could seriously undermine this role at a time when resources for new social housing are being reduced.’

NI House Prices Continue to Fall - BBC News

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


House prices in Northern Ireland have seen an 11% drop from this time last year, marking the continuing decline of the local market.

The latest University of Ulster Quarterly House Price Index has revealed that the average price now stands at approximately £137,000.

Regionally, Lisburn performed better than the overall market in Northern Ireland, although the outlook is variable across different property types. Properties which fell least in price were terraced and semi-detached houses, whereas apartments had the steepest decline, with the average value falling by around one quarter.

Despite the sharp decline in value, NI sales rose in the final quarter of 2011. The report, produced by the NI Housing Executive and the Bank of Ireland, found that there were 960 transactions in the last three months of 2011, as opposed to the 684 for the same period the year before.

‘This year offers more of the same pattern,’ said Alan Bridle, the UK economist at Bank of Ireland UK, ‘as many households continue to face economic and financial headwinds that will inevitably constrain demand for house purchase and house finance.’

NI House Prices Continue to Fall - BBC News