The total number of new dwelling starts in Northern Ireland recorded by Building Control for January – March 2017 was 1,883, an increase of 16.2% on the same quarter in 2016 (1,620). The total number of new dwelling completions for January – March 2017 was 1,482, a decrease of 1.1% on the same quarter in 2016 (1,498).
During the quarter ending March 2017, 252 new National House Building Council (NHBC) registered dwellings were sold, a decrease of 23.9% compared with the same period in 2016 (331).
Justin Cartwright, CIH Northern Ireland policy and public affairs manager said, “Today’s statistics show two very different sides to our housing market – on one hand there has been a welcome increase in the number of new homes started, which are up by 16% on the same quarter last year.
“On the other hand residential property sales have slowed down. While the level of sales is much higher than eight years ago following the housing market crash, buyer demand has stagnated since the quarter of the EU referendum and house prices are now also fairly flat.”
The average price of NHBC-registered new dwellings for the quarter ending March 2017 was £161,800, an increase of 1.8% on the previous quarter (£159,000).
“The ongoing recovery in housebuilding is being met by slowing momentum in the housing market,” Cartwright said. “The growth in the number of new homes is being driven by the private sector which started 1,700 homes – up 21% on the previous year’s quarter. The social housebuilding sector is also making a vital contribution – it exceeded the government target of 1,600 starts over the year to March 2017.
“However in reality we need more than 2,000 new social homes every year to address high levels of people in urgent housing need. Today’s figures also show an 18% increase in the number of homeless households – it’s essential that we have the right housing options to meet their needs.”
PICTURE CREDIT: William Murphy