Construction Loans News:- Northern Ireland overshadowed the South showing a year-on-year first quarter rise of 3.3 per cent,  according to the Nationwide House price index.

The average house in Northern Ireland reached £142,484 while the North West edged up to £161,535 – a 2.9 per cent increase on Q1 2018. UK average house prices in the first quarter of this year rose to £212,694 – a 0.4 per cent compared with the same period in 2018.

Building Finance

House prices in England fell by 0.7 per cent – the first annual recorded fall since 2012, due to declines in property values in the South East.

Construction Loans – The Capital feels the pinch

London showed a 3.8 per cent drop to an average house price of £455,594, although this figure is still more than twice the UK average.

Nationwide’s chief economist, Robert Gardner, said the capital was the weakest performer in the first quarter of this year.

“This is the fastest pace of decline since 2009 and the seventh consecutive quarter in which prices have declined in the capital. This trend is not entirely unexpected, however, as it follows several years of sustained outperformance which left affordability more stretched.

“Policy changes that have impacted the buy-to-let market in recent years are also likely to have exerted more of a drag in London, given that the private rental sector accounts for a larger proportion of the housing stock in the capital than elsewhere in the country.”

He said that in general UK price increases were subdued in March with a modest 0.7 per cent rise on the same month in 2018.

“Indicators of housing market activity, such as the number of property transactions and the number of mortgages approved for house purchase, have remained broadly stable in recent months, even though survey data suggests that sentiment has softened.”

Even in Northern Ireland annual house price growth has weakened from 5.8 per cent in the final quarter of 2018, said Gardner.

“Prices in Northern Ireland are still more than 35 per cent below the all-time highs recorded in 2007.”

Glimmers of hope

However, Gardner pointed out that prices across the South East and the Midlands are well above the pre-financial crisis and that Wales and Scotland’s prices were close to 2007 levels. The average house price for a property in the South East is £274,122, in the East Midlands it’s £182, 254 and in the West Midlands £189,263.

Wales showed a modest 0.9 per cent year-on-year quarter growth to £153,287 while Scotland saw a bigger increase of 2.4 per cent bringing the average price of a property to £147,728.

Property development finance lenders maintain there is some comfort in the fact that overall March saw a 0.7 per cent increase on the same month in 2018.

“Although the rises are modest they do show there is still an appetite to buy and that certain regions such as Northern Ireland and Scotland are doing well with a demand for construction loans,” said finance brokerage Hank Zarihs Associate’s chief executive, Shiraz Khan.

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