One of my landlords invited me along for my take on an apartment he’s keen to put an offer on, to add to a growing rental portfolio we manage for him in South and South-East Belfast.
As we chatted mortgages and finance, conversation inevitably turned to the latest house price figures.
Like most busy entrepreneurs, the headlines were what stuck with him – property prices in Northern Ireland on the up, but Belfast has dropped.
What are my thoughts? Well, it’s true – according to the most recent NISRA housing price index report for Northern Ireland, between the second and third quarters of 2016, the province as a whole saw house prices rise by 0.8%. If you compare Q3 2016 with Q3 2015, prices are up on average by 5.4%!
The 0.8% rise between Q2 and Q3 last year didn’t scare the buyers away – house sales were pretty healthy, with 5200 properties changing hands.
Belfast was one of the three council areas to see a slight drop in house price, slipping 0.9% to an average property price of £117,897.
In that time, residential property sales in Belfast rose more than 9% - a total of 1096 sold in the third quarter compared to 997 in the second.
It’s important to view these figures in context. Belfast has the highest population of private tenants in Northern Ireland, with around a fifth of Belfast households falling into this sector.
With university expansion and business investment in the city, we don’t see demand going anywhere but up.
Belfast prices have risen by a total of 4.5% over the past year, but again that falls below the region’s overall performance, with NI house prices rising by 5.4%.
Still moving in the right direction, and overall it’s good news for the investor – whether it’s yield or capital appreciation you want.