A top estate agent has seen an increase in the number of people returning home to live in Northern Ireland, coupled with an increase in the number of English families choosing to relocate to our shores.
ohn Minnis expects the trend to continue and does not believe that the Bank of England rate hike will have a negative impact on the regional market.
While he concedes future hikes could cause excitement, the real estate expert believes the 0.5% hike is ultimately a good thing.
“I’ve been doing this for 25 years and I’ve never seen the market look so interesting,” he said.
“Once the market gets good, I’m a little worried about the bad patch ahead.
“But I don’t see a bad time here or around the corner.”
The director of John Minnis Estate Agents revealed his biggest challenge right now isn’t selling houses, but getting them on the books.
“Demand exceeds supply and when that happens we get into bidding competitions for houses,” he explained.
“We listed a property on Thursday and within 24 hours we booked 18 viewers.
“That’s for a pretty typical four-bed house in Bangor.”
Economists warn that the Bank of England’s move to raise interest rates to 1.75% will hurt borrowers in Northern Ireland and raise the cost of home loans at variable or follow-up deals.
It is estimated that around 85,000 out of 236,000 mortgage holders here hold variable or tracker mortgages.
However, at around 150,000, the majority is fixed-rate mortgages.
“Northern Ireland is a little different from the rest of the UK and so the market here is isolated – we’re not likely to see prices fall,” Mr Minnis said.
“The price increase that we have seen is slowing down, but I expect it will stabilize and stabilise.
“Right now I have no problem when it comes to selling houses.
“It’s a good market to sell and I’m not sure people realize that.
“We would like to see more properties on the market. If we could get twice the amount of properties on our listings, we would sell twice the amount of properties.”
However, the real estate agent said the lack of supply makes it a difficult market to buy into.
“Before Covid we had a very domestic market,” explained Mr Minnis.
“We are now seeing a large number of buyers from England, with 37% coming from there, and generally more interest from overseas.
“What’s really interesting is that English families have chosen to move here because they realize they can enjoy a lifestyle that isn’t possible across the water.”
The property salesman also said the pandemic has allowed expats to return home and continue working abroad remotely.
“It’s a great thing because they come home to live here on their American or Dubai salaries,” Mr Minnis said.
“They have excess income and that has a good side effect on the overall economy.
“Many people have returned to our shores from across Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.”
Despite the positive outlook, Mr Minnis admitted he was concerned about the impact of the deepening cost of living crisis.
“Every time I turn the corner, someone raises their prices,” he said.
“Everything is going up and there’s less money in people’s pockets, and of course at some point that will have an impact.”
Meanwhile, Ballymena real estate agent Ryan Gregg wants to remind people that interest rates remain historically low.
He is confident that any negative impact from the hike will be short-lived.
“It will only help stabilize prices, I don’t think it will bring them down,” he said.
“I already had a lady on the phone this morning to say she was putting her property search on hold for the time being.
“This was the final nail in the coffin for her and I’m sure she’s not alone.”
Director of Rainey and Gregg Property and Financial Services Mortgageholders on variable deals will be the ones affected.
“A lot of people are locked into fixed five-year contracts so they don’t see a change,” he said.
“Others who do this, and new buyers, can extend the term of their mortgage, which isn’t ideal, but would offset any additional monthly costs.”
Mr Gregg acknowledged that movers and first-time buyers are being impacted by negative headlines and the cost of living crisis.
“But I don’t see the price going down,” he said.
“There’s a perception of a real estate boom, but there hasn’t been a boom since 2007.
“Last year we started to see price increases of 10% but this is unsustainable and will not continue.
“The rate hike will help correct that.”
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/estate-agent-says-interest-hike-will-help-stabilise-house-prices-in-northern-ireland-41892648.html Northern Ireland house prices: Estate agent says interest hike will help stabilise market