Thursday, 22 March 2012


The latest figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have reported encouraging news for Ulster’s property market.

Sales in February were on the rise, as shown by the RICS and Ulster Bank Housing market survey, which also predicted that this trend would continue. The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) also revealed recently that Northern Ireland was unique as the only UK country to see a hike in the number of mortgages in the last three months of 2011.

Despite this, prices are still falling, with suggestions that Ulster may be near the bottom of the market.

RICS spokesman Tom McClelland commented that ‘Recent auction results and repossession sales show that, in some instances, selling prices are down 65 to 70% from peak prices, which hints that the bottom of the market may not be too far off.’

He remained guarded, however, about the rise in sales. ‘I think the key theme for this year is not to expect the unexpected. Average prices will continue to come under pressure, though the view is that this will be less so in greater Belfast and Lisburn than elsewhere.’

House Sales and Loans Up - Is Ulster Property Market Moving at Last? - Belfast Telegraph


News broke recently that the Halifax is raising its SVR (Standard Variable Mortgage Rate) from 3.5% to 3.99%.

This latest development from the UK’s biggest mortgage lender has proved discouraging for many borrowers. Halifax has attributed the increase to the greater cost of raising funds for mortgages from savers and the financial markets.

It comes in the wake of RBS increasing the rate on two of their mortgages from 3.75% to 4%. Such a rise from Halifax would add a further £24 a month for borrowers with £100,000 still remaining.

BBC Business correspondent Joe Lynam commented that ‘Halifax has written to customers advising them it is raising the cup or maximum rate it could charge on SVR which usually signals an imminent rate rise.’

He went on to say that ‘for those with an interest-only SVR it would mean a sharp 14% hike in monthly payments.’

Halifax to Raise Standard Variable Rate to 3.99% - BBC News