20% slump in Londonderry housing market over year

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The average price of a house in Londonderry and Strabane plummeted by 20 per cent year-on-year bucking a general “strong market trend” reported by Ulster University researchers in their latest house price report.

The most recent Quarterly House Price Index examined the performance of Northern Ireland’s residential property market over October, November and December 2015.

Produced by Ulster University in partnership with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the research shows the average price of a house in the North West fell from £113,662 to £90,451 between the last quarters of the 2014 and 2015 calendar years.

During that period the average price of a terraced house in Londonderry and Strabane rose from £47,804 to £62,368 but it wasn’t enough to offset an overall decline in value that was partly caused by a slowdown in the sales of detached and semi-detached houses.

At the end of 2014, for example, you could buy a semi-detached house for £109,534 and a detached house for £168,461, but those averages have now declined to £101,739 and £143,576 respectively.

It bucks a Northern Ireland rise in house prices, which ostensibly works out as 7.7 per cent, but which has been revised upwards to nine per cent by the researchers - “when allowance is made for variation in the sample mix between surveys.”

The 20 per cent decrease in the Londonderry and Strabane average has not been weighted.

According to the housing report: “In the Derry/Strabane market, the overall average price (£90,451) has reduced back from the much stronger performance levels apparent earlier in the year.

“This may reflect some short-term local market variability in fourth quarter.

“The picture is not consistent across all property types with the average price of terraced/townhouses (£62,368) increasing over both the annual and quarterly time periods.”

It points to the slump in detached sales locally.

“The average price of semi-detached houses (£101,739) typifies local market volatility down by 7.1 per cent over the year but up by 7.8 per cent compared to the average price in the third quarter.

“The lower price structure of detached houses (£143,576) in the current survey is an important further factor in reducing the overall average sale price.”

Lead researcher, Professor Stanley McGreal, from Ulster University said: “At a regional level a more variable picture is apparent across the market.

“House prices in Belfast increased over the year, in particular apartments increased significantly by 22.3 per cent since the fourth quarter of 2014 to £136,933.

“However quarterly performance was more modest.”