What will 2020 hold for the NI property market?

Posted: 11/1/2020

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What will this new year hold in store for the NI property market? We have seen steady growth in house prices over the past 5 years. According to the ONS, NI house prices have increased by 26% since 2015. That has been despite concerns over Brexit and no functioning local government for three of those years. Now we have a definite date for Brexit, and fingers crossed, local government re-instated, both of which should instil greater confidence in the economy and the housing market. Whilst there are political sensitivities around the Brexit deal for NI, it appears that we may have one foot in and one foot out of the EU. Economically this could be very advantageous for the province and attract more investment and more jobs. Of course, we don't know what deal the UK will get from the EU and we are in unchartered waters here. Ultimately however more jobs will mean more money in the economy and that usually goes hand in hand with house price growth. Despite the government's attempts to tinker with the housing market and force landlords to sell up homes for first time buyers, and although many landlords have done exactly that, we continue to see new landlords entering the market. The new tax rules do not affect landlords with one or two properties as much as those with multiple ones, and investors are looking at property as they have always done - a good and safe investment. Tourism has continued to blossom locally, and this has seen a swathe of Belfast landlords converting their standard rentals to "AirBnBs". Combined with landlords selling up, this has reduced the amount of rental housing stock in Belfast, which has driven up rental prices....which in turn encourages more investors into the market. The AirBnB spike, we think, is now evening out and in fact some landlords are returning to standard rental, partly because rental prices have increased. Whether or not the economy actual does improve in NI, there is generally more confidence and we foresee that house prices will continue to rise at least to the same degree they have been over recent years, and quite possibly at a higher rate. Of course, there are many factors which could adversely affect this prediction so it should be taken with some degree of caution. There are still some property owners who bought before the 2008 crash who are still in negative equity, however the gap between what they owe and what their property is worth is getting much closer. It would also be amiss to not mention the homeless situation. Higher market rents make it difficult for those on benefits or low incomes to obtain private rented housing. Of course, it is not up to the private sector to house the homeless, but a stronger economy means more tax revenue which should mean more public funding to deal with the issue...in theory of course. If you are interested in Buy-To-Let, we are very easy to talk to and are flexible and importantly very reasonable with our services for landlords. We don't charge VAT for a start so that's a big saving for landlords. And when it comes to selling your home, we believe that estate agents should charge a fair fee for their work, which is why our sale fee is only 0.5%, half of what most other agents charge*. Just give us a call or pop us an email if you would like to chat about any of our services. *Subject to standard T&Cs. Min fee £500. 

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