House prices drop by 20 per cent

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HOUSE prices in Craigavon have slumped by almost 20 per cent over the past year, according to newly released statistics.

The overall average price of a house in the borough is now just £87,523 down 19.5 per cent over the year.

However according to authors of the latest University of Ulster Quarterly House Price Index report, the small sample size may have an undue influence on the statistic.

Over the year, semi-detached houses fell in overall average sale price by 18.4 per cent to £79,095 while detached houses rose by 11.4 per cent to £178,583

While Northern Ireland has probably seen the worst of the housing market collapse, recovery will be slow and irregular, according to authors of the report produced in partnership with Bank of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

The survey for the third quarter of 2012 shows that the modest price rises recorded in the second quarter were not repeated, with a slight price decline in the latest survey pointing to a market that is performing unevenly.

The overall average price of a house in the third quarter – July, August and September - was £138,966, representing weighted declines of 3.6 per cent over the year and 1.75 per cent over the second quarter.

The authors of the report - Professor Alastair Adair, Professor Stanley McGreal and Dr David McIlhatton - said, “The results re-emphasise that recovery in the market is slow and, while there is some suggestion of improved price performance in parts of Northern Ireland and for certain property types, the overall weighted quarterly decline suggests that market sentiment is still to the downside.”

The sample number of transactions recorded across a network of estate agents for the third quarter was 958, a relatively low level of transactions reflecting the uncertain market conditions.

The report says 41 per cent of houses in the survey sold for £100,000 or less, suggesting that considerable value exists in the local market. Overall, 72 per cent of sales were at or below £150,000, confirming the improved affordability of housing in Northern Ireland.

The trend across all property types was generally one of decline in the third quarter, but there were exceptions, indicating a still volatile picture. The sharpest fall was in the apartment sector, down 22.7 per cent over the year. Compared to the same time last year, detached bungalows fell 12.5 per cent, terraced/townhouses were down 11.7 per cent and semi-detached houses declined by 8.5 per cent.