Why Fermanagh house sellers don’t need to panic

DON’T listen to the merchants of doom. That’s the advice from a local real estate agent as predictions of a fall in house prices continue to grow.
Chris Rhodes, chief finance officer at Nationwide Building Society, told the Commons Treasury committee last week that house prices could fall by almost a third in the worst-case scenario but a ‘weighted average’ is around 8 to 10 per cent.
Savills estates agents also predicted a similar 10 per cent drop next year before they climb again in 2024 after the interest rate pain eases.
It makes for depressing reading, however, Enniskillen real estate agent Nick Finlay of Montgomery Finlay believes the forecasts had no real bearing on Fermanagh.
“When they talk about a 10 per cent or 30 per cent decrease in house prices – we don’t have the same fluctuation as in the likes of Belfast or London,” Mr Finlay explained.
“Despite all the talk in the media about a recession coming, interest hikes and a cost of living crisis, interest rates at 5 or 6 per cent today is probably where the interest rates should be.
“We just got used to paying 2 per cent [interest rates] over the past 10 to 15 years, which were unrealistically low. The market is now back to a little bit of normality.
“There’s no longer a mad bidding war going on either. The Fermanagh person is now able to buy houses again here.
“The influx of people moving out of England and relocating here is not as much as before. Local buyers are not getting outbid [for houses] like had been happening. It’s a lot more accessible for Fermanagh people [to buy property] at the moment.”
Homeowners were hit last week with the largest increase in interest rates in more than 30 years, potentially adding hundreds of pounds to mortgage payments, while the number of home sales is predicted to tumble by almost 200,000 to levels not seen since 2011.
Property website Rightmove also recorded a 20 per cent drop in buyer demand on its site since the previous month – with fewer people contacting its estate agents about moving.
But Mr Finlay was still not concerned.
“The forecast in Fermanagh isn’t as negative as it’s being portrayed in the UK. We’re actually getting some normality back into the local market and it has calmed down,” he said.
“Local people who were in constant bidding wars and were losing out to buyers from outside the county aren’t anymore. Fermanagh people can now buy and sell property in a much more stable environment.”

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