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‘Steady as she goes’ despite bidding on properties for first time in several years

Some improvement in housing market

By Paul Ainsworth

Slight improvements in areas of the local housing market have seen bidding take place on South Belfast properties, according to a contributer to the latest housing market report.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) released their latest Housing Market Survey on Tuesday, which gives a tentatively positive diagnosis for the North overall. This comes despite prices continuing to fall and predictions the trend will continue in the coming months.

In South Belfast, parts of which remain among the most desirable anywhere in the North, a local contributor to the RICS survey said in some cases prices had increased above the asking rate, and claimed the only way is up for the market after years in the doldrums.

Stranmillis-based estate agent Samuel Dickey, who contributed to this week’s report, told the South Belfast News that although there was a way to go, the future for the housing market locally was brighter than it has been in a long time.

“I think we have witnessed the bottom in terms of how bad things could get,” he said.

“I have witnessed in some cases locally, prices increasing above the original asking price, and people are even bidding on properties again, which is very positive to see. It might be a bit early to be getting excited, but we certainly haven’t seen this behaviour in a long while.”

The report paints a positive picture for first time buyers keen to get on the property ladder, despite ongoing difficulties for some in obtaining a mortgage from lenders.

Tom McClelland of the RICS also confirmed that there were small signs of improvement overall, but said talk of “green shoots of recovery” might be premature.

“For first time buyers there’s increasing affordability at the lower end of the market,” he said.

“However, in South Belfast, which of course along with areas such as Cultra in North Down, remains one of the most desirable places to live, I would hesitate in saying things are improving at a fast rate. It’s steady as she goes, and we shouldn’t get carried away, even when we see these positive signs.”




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