As Northern Ireland takes tentative steps back to ‘normal’ this week with all school children back in class, click & collect services expanded and an end date for non-essential retail to reopen within sight,  Adrian Doran, Senior Residential Sales/Valuer Negotiator with Best Property Services reflects on the property market performance during COVID restrictions.        

“Society has experienced huge upheaval in the past year since the outbreak of Covid 19 with significant changes to our lifestyle, how we work and where we live.

“Whilst we took a few weeks to adapt to the lockdown changes in those initial weeks of the pandemic, overall the property market has remained busy –  and there are some notable ‘COVID’ trends coming through – Specifically changes in the type of client looking to buy and also a change to clients’ key  requirements for a new home,” Adrian explains.

Looking at house prices in NI from 2019 to the end of 2020, The NI Price Index has reported an annual 5.3% increase. Adrian says the agency, with a head office in Newry, has certainly continued to see that trend during the early months of  2021 with in excess of £10m in gross residential sales achieved.

The average NI house price currently is £147,593 while Newry Mourne Down average house price sits at £159,305 according to the latest survey figures.

Despite huge levels of uncertainty in the general economy, the property market continues to perform well. Whilst property is considered a sound investment despite economic changes, Adrian and the Residential team at Bests attribute the peek in demand to the working from home directive.

Coming Home to Northern Ireland

Adrian said: “We’ve noted an increase in the level of enquiries from people from NI who’ve been working ‘away’ and have a desire to return home. This is supported by data from the Irish Central Statistics Office who have reported the greatest number of people returning to the country since 2007.

“My colleagues and I have recently agreed properties to clients returning from London, Dubai, Australia and America.  Typically these clients have discovered that through COVID work place changes, they can work remotely and are no longer tied to living in large cities where their parent company is based. In discussion with them, they view NI as a much more affordable place to buy and they are more likely to be able to afford a property that meets all their family requirements.”

Work From Home & Home-school

The work from home directive and home schooling arrangements has also made a lot of local families consider their own living arrangements, and often lack of space, outdoor space, office space etc has driven a demand for larger properties.

Adrian reports that the top requirements for buyers now are:

  1. Garages
  2. Space for home offices
  3. Larger gardens…. all of which has also been helped by the recently extended stamp duty holiday.

Active First Time Buyer Market

First Time Buyer market continues to be very active market, Adrian says, with the attraction of low mortgage rates. In many instances clients have been able to make a larger deposit as a ‘positive’ result of no social, holiday or leisure spending.

 “Despite this, there are challenges to getting onto the property ladder. Frustratingly, the current market in this region is undersupplied and available property is some  30% less than the  level we would normally see at this time of the year compared to the same quarter in previous years,” he says.

“This undersupply of homes has resulted in multiple bidding being the norm.  In fact, 60% of Best Property resales so far in 2021 have had multiple bidders and in many cases have exceeded the guide price.

“Looking forward to the rest of 2021, we still see the local market being competitive with demand likely to outweigh supply for the foreseeable future,” Adrian adds.

At Best Property Services we are always enthusiastic to talk to you about all your property needs. If you are considering a move in the property market, please feel free to get in touch.


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