Dear Barry

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Last week we chatted about the big freeze on prices and it seems the chill in the water spread over to sales too.

NI property sales for Q4 were a cool 5,501, down nearly 11% from 6,154 in Q3 and down nearly 9% from 6,033 in Q4 2016.

Overall, 2017 property sales (22,809) went down the barometer by 0.6% on 2017's (23,030) but looking at the overall sales for the past five years, the temperature has climbed at a slow and steady pace, and NI sales are up over 37.5% from 2013.

Belfast sales are similar to the general NI picture between Q3 and Q4 2017, dropping by just over 12% from 1,269 to 1,116. Overall, Belfast property sales in 2017 were slightly higher than 2016's, with just 16 more properties changing hands, representing a rise of just 0.35%.

Broken record time - I have to remind you at this point that the figures for the most recent quarter are usually revised upwards once details of all sales come to light, so these figures may inch upwards, but so far it looks to be mirroring the economic trend hinted at by the property prices. In other words, the property market is currently more tepid than boiling hot.

At the risk of repeating myself, I think this is good news for the investor and for the industry in general.

At a time of continuing upheaval at home and abroad, things really could be a lot worse. Calm waters in the property market while the geopolitical seas are choppy - this hints at a quietly strong and confident industry planning sensibly for the future.

And you only have to walk around Belfast or pick up a paper to see evidence of investor confidence in the city - the new hotels are progressing on schedule and the city centre continues to expand, the east of the city is being developed and regenerated, and gentrification continues to add value to the south, particularly around Ormeau.

All in all, the property market matches the March weather - we're looking forward to warmer days but glad we're not being battered by the storm.


What are your thoughts? Do you think slow and steady wins the race or would you rather see a bit more movement in the local property market? Join the conversation over on Facebook or Twitter or drop me a line to