Dear Barry

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We heard last week that property prices had seen a slight recovery between the second and third quarters of the year - good news for anyone keen to flip an investment property, or simply seek reassurance in the value of their stock.

Q3 in 2018 saw a dip in demand - the current sales figures show 4.3% fewer property sales in the third than in the second quarter across Northern Ireland. 

Overall, there were 5,722 properties sold in the third quarter of this year, down from 5.972 in the previous quarter. Last year we saw a 6.7% rise in NI property sales between these quarters - from 6,111 in Q2 to 6,533 in Q3.

Belfast's transactions fared better, with 2.6% more dwellings changing hands in Q3 (1,170) than in Q2 (1,140). Last year, again, the rise between quarters was more impressive, with a 7.12% increase in sales.

But clearly, it's not as simple as rising prices pushing sales down (or vice versa) as Belfast has seen both prices and transactions going up.

So what's going on here? Well, not to bang on about Brexit but yes, most of the districts with border towns saw a drop in sales which could be Brexit-related caution. Mid-Ulster saw a whopping 17.6% fall in sales; Newry and Mourne dropped by over 7%.

However, the likes of Lisburn and Castlereagh and North Down also saw a decrease in transactions of over 5% so there's something else at play too.

These are places with high populations of settled school-age families, so Q3 (summer holidays + term time) just may not be the best time for the expense and disruption of house sales.

Also, this might be the time of year that savvy investors in Belfast are adding to their student rental portfolios, plus Belfast continues to grow its business offering and hotel building, so the market is understandably more buoyant.

All in all, not a bad picture and a reassuringly (but not headspinning) picture of growth in Belfast.


What do you think of the figures? As always, I love yo hear your thoughts - drop me a line on or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter or Linked In.