What’s the latest news from the housing market in Northern Ireland?
Just a few weeks into 2024, things are turning a corner for the Northern Ireland housing market. Here, Partner Ian Creighton explains what the latest data is telling us.
What happened to the Northern Irish housing market in 2023?
It’s no secret that 2023 got off to a rocky start, with sales in Northern Ireland slumping in the first nine months of 2023; data from HMRC showed there were 17,410 transactions up to September, compared to 21,300 in the same period of 2022.
However, towards the end of last year, as demand picked up, house prices were rising in Northern Ireland, with the average price towards the end of 2023 sitting at £179,530, representing an increase of 3% on the same time last year. This is part of an ongoing trend, as the House Price Index has increased by 56.8% since Q1 2015, the reference period.
What does 2024 look like for the Northern Irish housing market?
A recent report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank Residential Market Survey indicates a strengthened outlook following a solid finish to 2023.
The report highlights a surge in agreed sales in November and increased new listings and buyer inquiries. Surveyors note a more substantial increase in prices, with the survey’s price balance reaching its highest point (+65%) since October 2022.
In November, there was also a spike in agreed sales and a rise in new listings and buyer enquiries.
This is good news if you plan on buying or selling in Northern Ireland, as demand is getting stronger, and house sales are expected to continue to rise. So, if you’re looking for a new home, whether you’re upsizing, downsizing, or getting on the property ladder, 2024 looks like a good year to make a move.
What steps should I take when buying a home in 2024 in Northern Ireland?
Buying a new home takes careful planning, as anyone will tell you it’s one of the three most stressful life events you can go through, so being prepared is key.
1. Determine your budget
Consider what price range you want to look into, considering factors such as your income, savings and existing debt.
2. Get a mortgage pre-approved
Work with a mortgage adviser to get a clear understanding of how much you can borrow, which will help you to narrow down your search.
3. Find the right location
Explore different areas to find the one that suits you and your needs.
4. View properties
Book your viewings and take note of the condition of the property.
5. Make an offer on your property
When you’ve found the right home, make an offer to the seller via the estate agent.
When should I speak to a solicitor when buying a home in Northern Ireland?
You can start to look for a solicitor as soon as you’re looking for a home, and they will begin working with you once your offer has been accepted.
Your solicitor supports you with the legal work involved in buying a home. They will deal directly with the seller’s solicitor. Your estate agent will help to put each in touch.
When will I know my moving date when buying a home in Northern Ireland?
The only completion date you should make firm plans around is the date that appears on the contract signed by both the seller and the purchaser. The confirmation of this date will come from your solicitor. Any other date that you have agreed verbally or that has been provided to you by the estate agent or another party is only a target date.
What does my solicitor need before the purchase can be completed?
A house purchase can be completed when all of the necessary information has been provided to the buyer’s solicitor, and they can confirm their client has sufficient money. They will receive title deeds, property searches and certificates, documents and maps, all of which are pieces of a puzzle that combine to give them the complete legal picture in order to give the best advice.
On average, the process can take 12-14+ weeks. Your solicitor will not be able to control how quickly they receive these items, so it is impossible to provide a completion date early in the process.
If you are looking to buy or sell your home, the award-winning property team at Wilson Nesbitt is here to help you every step of the way. Just call us on 028 9124 8804 or email us at WNPRteam@wilson-nesbitt.com for a chat.
How much are conveyancing fees in Northern Ireland?
The cost of conveyancing services varies between law firms, and will also depend on the type and size of property, and the particular circumstances of your transaction. As with most products and services, you tend to get what you pay for and it is worth retaining the services of a qualified, experienced and respected conveyancer.
In addition to the legal fees, you must also factor in the payment of conveyancing disbursements and stamp duty land tax, if applicable. These are payments that need to be made to a third party by your solicitor on your behalf as part of the home-buying process. Your solicitor will clearly outline these costs to you in their initial quote.