Dear Barry

Ask Barry Image

OK, a little bit of clickbait with the title - but it is factually true. The 1% drop in Northern Ireland house prices between Q1 and Q2 2018 is only the second drop in prices we've seen since the slow and steady climb back from recession began in 2015.

Between Q4 2016 and Q1 2017 they fell 0.2% and every other quarter since and before has posted a rise (if a small one). 

Graph taken from NI House Price Index from the Department of Finance.

Belfast has fared ever-so-slightly better than the country as a whole, posting a drop of 0.4% between the quarters. It is interesting to note the three regions who posted a rise in property prices between the first and second quarters - Causeway Coast & Glens (2.1%), Derry City and Strabane (1.8%) and Fermanagh & Omagh (0.2%).

These three districts share a substantial chunk of the border between NI and the Republic - but then again, Newry and Mourne is well known for being a key border area and has posted a price drop of 4.8%.

So is there a Brexit effect at play here? Are people heading West for a quick leap across the border if Brexit goes bad, with Newry and Mourne suffering from its proximity to what some may fear could become checkpoint areas?

All conjecture at this point, but food for thought, and Brexit is a topic many of you have been asking me about. I will therefore be sharing my thoughts more extensively on the potential impact over the coming weeks and months.

But it's my best guess looking at the overall picture - the biggest drop in three years, the only mid-year drop and districts bordering our European neighbours in the West faring best in price - that political instability and hard-Brexit headlines are beginning to have an effect on the property market.

It's not all bad news though - the annual change is a price increase for Northern Ireland properties of 4.4%. Belfast sees an even better performance, with a rise between Q2 2017 and Q2 2018 of 5%.

This is to be expected, with the hotel building boom. Here's hoping the Primark/Bank Buildings fire doesn't have too sustained an impact on trade and tourism in the city centre because the dozen plus shiny new hotels are relying on a buoyant city to help them make bank on their substantial investment.

I remain. as ever, optimistic - Belfast is a Phoenix that has risen from the ashes more than once over the past few decades and I have no doubt that she will do it again.


I'm interested to hear your thoughts on the figures. Do you think Brexit is having an effect on investor or buyer confidence? Do you think border towns in the West are benefiting from this, or is coincidence? Any questions, queries or comments, please send them my way -