‘Bargains’ as average house sells for £125,000

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THERE are bargains to be had in a subdued property market, according to the latest major survey in Northern Ireland.

The University of Ulster Quarterly House Price Index – produced in partnership with Bank of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive – highlights the availability of “affordable” properties, with 35 per cent of those sold in the first quarter of 2012 going for less than £100,000 and 70 per cent for £150,000 or less.

In East Antrim, the average house price is now £125,641. The survey revealed price drops over the quarter and over the year, but with significant variability across different property types.

Over the quarter, average sale prices are lower across all property types including the terraced/townhouse, semi-detached and bungalow sectors. Apartments and detached houses performed relatively better, with falls of 2.3 per cent and 2.1 per cent respectively.

However, over the year, semi-detached houses increased by 7.1 per cent to £130,569 and apartments by 7.4 per cent to £80,278 while detached houses fell 14 per cent to £199,885.

The number of property sales remains low and generally prices are still trending downward, according to the most comprehensive residential property survey of the region. The overall average price of a house in Northern Ireland for the first quarter 2012 was £134,560 representing a weighted rate of annual decline of 10.6 per cent, which is virtually the same rate recorded in the last quarter of 2011.

The authors – Professor Alastair Adair, Professor Stanley McGreal and Dr David McIlhatton – said: “We consider the generally weaker market in the first quarter of 2012 reflects a lack of confidence arising from the poor performance of the UK economy, with buyers still deferring decisions because of economic uncertainty, rising bills and concerns about job security.”