A LOCAL real estate agent is advising Fermanagh people not to panic despite a report last week saying average house prices in the North have risen by nearly 10 per cent in the past 12 months to reach £169,000, the highest in 14 years.
The NI House Price Index for the second quarter of this year reported across the quarter, 5,798 homes had been sold – though that number was subject to revision – while the standardised house price in Northern Ireland of £169,000 was up 9.6 per cent year-on-year and up 3.2 per cent quarter-on-quarter.
Average house prices in Fermanagh and Tyrone are currently sitting at £152,202 the report stated, but Enniskillen real estate agent, Nick Finlay of Montgomery Finlay, said it was not all doom and gloom for home buyers here.
“The negativity we seem to be hearing every day on the news about a recession and rising interest rates is being exaggerated,” Mr Finlay said.
“To put it all in context, we’re still below the house prices of 2007-08 before the crash. We’re still a long way off the rise in house prices during this boom time. Interest rates today are also still very good for people looking to buy.”
Mr Finlay agreed that there has been a big jump in house prices over the past two years, but buyers have not been put off by it.
“I’m still getting 20-30 viewings on properties and very few of these last more than 2-3 weeks [before being sold],” He said. “The market is still very healthy. There is still a high demand for the properties available.”
This is not to say that in a year’s time house prices will still be rising at the same rate as the predicted recession kicks in.
“It won’t be the same increase because external factors like cost of living are bound to come into it. But people said during Covid that the housing market was going to crash and the complete opposite happened,” Mr Finlay said.
“You have to remember, the crash in 2008 was when financial institutions like banks went under. The banks aren’t exposed like this now, they’re not going to fold again. It’s a lot more stable. We’re not going to have the massive fluctuations that we’ve seen before.”
The NI House Price Index revealed that house price growth in Ards and North Down meant that the area has now leapfrogged Lisburn and Castlereagh as the most expensive house-buying district, with the average home costing £196,438.
However, the cheapest area to buy a home is Derry City and Strabane, where the average house price is £150,246 – up 11.9 per cent year-on-year and an increase of 2.9 per cent on the quarter before.
“Prices may be higher for houses now but people are certainly willing to pay more for the right place,” Mr Finlay said.
“Is it the [housing] market wildfire that it was 12 months ago? No, probably not. Is it still extremely buoyant today? Yes, it is.”
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