Housing Market Ending 2017 on a High

ulster uni

Northern Ireland’s housing market looks set to end 2017 on a high and to enter 2018 with a healthy momentum, according to the latest report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Produced with the Ulster Bank, the Residential Market Survey says house prices and sales rose firmly with surveyors expecting both prices and sales activity to increase in the three months ahead.

The main findings show a headline price balance of +40%, meaning that 40% more surveyors said that prices rose in the past three months than those who said they fell.

The price expectations balance, at +23%, remains positive and above most other UK regions, while, sales expectations data (+12%) also remains in positive territory.

Newly agreed sales (+49%) rose firmly in November, whilst there were also increases in new buyer enquiries (+33%) and new instructions to sell (+11%).

Looking further ahead, surveyors are also positive about the prospects for house prices and sales over the next 12-months, with the balance of respondents expecting both sales activity and prices to be higher in a year’s time.

However, respondents continue to report that a lack of housing stock is a challenge for the market. “Overall, 2017 has been a good year for the local housing market,” said RICS residential property Spokesman, Samuel Dickey.”

“We have seen relatively healthy rates of price increase and rising sales activity. Looking ahead to 2018, there will be a number of headwinds, including the limited supply, alongside rising inflation and the fact that interest rates are edging upwards.”

However, surveyors appear to be reasonably confident about the market in the year ahead.” Sean Murphy, MD, personal banking at Ulster Bank, said. “The RICS figures are in line with other indicators in pointing to a relatively strong year for the housing market.”

“The latest NI House Price Index, for instance, reports average prices rising 6% year-on-year, and the latest CML mortgage lending data shows that home buyers in Northern Ireland borrowed £480 million in the third quarter of the year, up 12% on the second quarter of 2017 and 20 per cent compared to the third quarter last year.”

Read more at: https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/business/housing-market-ending-2017-on-a-high-1-8290298

Bargain Armagh property sold for £28k

The new bargain city for house hunters could be Armagh with the recent £28,000 sale of a Victorian terraced property.

Another two nearby ‘fixer-uppers’ are also on the market for £30,000 and £36,000 – below the current Northern Ireland average price of £132,169.

Located near the city centre, 8 Umgola Row boasts a rustic stonework exterior and can be traced back as far as 1901.

It may be in need of “complete renovation,” but the striking property has the potential to generate a rental income of £450 per calendar month (£5,400 a year)

Local architect and Ulster Unionist councillor for Armagh, Sam Nicholson, said he hoped the new owners would bring back the residence to its former glory.

“In the current climate £28,000 sounds quite a bargain,” he said. “I’m not sure of the exact history, but you would imagine that this row of stone houses would have been workers’ houses from way back.”

A census of Ireland from 1901 featured on website nationalarchives.ie highlights a young family of four were some of the former residents.

Joseph Oliver (24) is listed as “head of the family” with his wife Mary G Oliver (26) and sons John (3) and Thomas James (age not listed).

“Armagh has a lot of heritage and history and I do hope the new owner restores it, but being an architect myself I know how expensive these things can be,” he continued. “I do a lot of work with historic properties and I can tell you we’ve lost a lot of our old heritage in the countryside.”

With VAT and the added cost of renovation, he said heritage restorations could increase the final price by 20%.

“It makes people want to just knock them down and build new.

“I’m very much a supporter of keeping our heritage and old buildings, but my philosophy as an architect is, ‘If it’s there restore it, but if not build modern’,” he added.

This property has recently had its sale agreed however, there is still hope of securing a bargain in Armagh, with two properties listed nearby.

3 St Malachy’s Terrace is on the market for £30,000 and is less than two miles away.

This mid-terrace is located in Armagh City and is described as “in need of some TLC” and “a brilliant opportunity for investors.” For those looking to escape the city and favour rural life, 14 Drumhillery Park is on the market at £36,000. This detached bungalow is only a 20-minute drive away.

This dwelling is described as a “quaint two-bedroom, semi-detached chalet bungalow” with rural views and is “in need of some modernisation.” This property also consists of a front garden and patio with a potential rental income of £400 per month (£4,800 a year.)

Via: https://www.propertynews.com/blog/industry-news/bargain-armagh-property-sold-for-28k/

Interest rates tipped to remain on hold as Bank of England avoids another hike immediately after its first in a decade

The Bank of England is widely expected to keep interest rates on hold this week after raising them for the first time in a decade last month.

The Bank voted 7-2 to increase rates to 0.5 per cent in November in a bid to dampen rising inflation – but with a downbeat picture of the economy painted alongside the move, that is forecast to be the only move for some time.

Despite the Bank saying that two more rate hikes are likely over the next three years in order to return inflation back to its 2 per cent target, many experts believe rates will remain at 0.5 per cent for at least another year.

Ryan Djajasaputra, economist at Investec, said: ‘(The) Bank of England is all but certain to hold fire at its policy meeting on Thursday.

‘We will be looking for any clues over the timing of any future policy tightening in the minutes.’

A further indicator that the Bank is unlikely to raise rates again any time soon comes from the mortgage market, where fixed rates have remained fairly steady since the November hike.

That stability comes after lenders bumped up costs ahead of the interest rate decision, as their funding costs influenced by money market swap rates shifted up in expectation of the hike to 0.5 per cent.

Savers have faced mixed fortunes since the rise, with some banks and building societies choosing to pass on the 0.25 per cent rise to them – but others failing to do so.

Challenger and smaller banks, alongside building societies, were the most likely to pass on the rise. Hardly any savers in popular easy-access accounts or in easy-access cash Isas with Barclays, NatWest, RBS, Lloyds, HSBC, Halifax and Santander have benefited from the full rise

Via: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-5160473/Interest-rates-held-Bank-avoids-follow-hike.html#ixzz51EK22sgX

Debate over property tax ‘welcome’

house price rises

The abolition of stamp duty for many first-time buyers should spark a wider debate over the taxation of property, surveyors say.

New buyers purchasing a home of up to £300,000 no longer have to pay stamp duty owing to changes made in last month’s Budget.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said that the move was unlikely to affect the market.

Prices and activity were relatively stagnant immediately after the change.

“However, if the move does trigger a wider debate about how best to tax property, it will serve a useful role,” said Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS.

Alongside the abolition of stamp duty for sub-£300,000 homes bought by first-time buyers, properties costing up to £500,000 now have no stamp duty paid on the first £300,000 by new buyers.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said this meant 95% of first-time buyers would see stamp duty cut, while 80% would pay none at all.

The change has taken effect in England and Northern Ireland. It is in place in Wales up until the end of March at least, but not in Scotland.

Surveyors said that in November, when the announcement was made, there was a slowdown in the decline of inquiries from new buyers. Prices were flat, on average, across the UK.

RICS members expected a drop in prices over the next three months in London, the South East of England and East Anglia, but a rise in the North West of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Via: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42339254