Private housing increases in Northern Ireland

The private housing subsector in Northern Ireland has become the sole subsector within the overarching construction sector to be on the increase, in spite of there being no Northern Irish government following two years of political confusion.

While public sector construction work has been falling on account of deferred project start dates, again attributed to political stagnation, private sector housebuilding has been the only subsector with a registered rise, inclining at its fastest rate for 20 years.

Evidence of this can be seen in the recent upsurge in private residential work, where planning approvals have increased and the underlying value of projects gaining approval over the seven month period building to July 2019 was 38% higher than that over the same period in 2018.

Project starts have also risen by 22% and the value of private residential work gaining approval has sky-rocketed by 110%.

The Northern Ireland Construction Spokesman for RICS, Jim Sammon stated: “The new build private housing market continues to perform well. However, construction activity is no doubt affected by on-going political instability, which has had a considerably negative impact on public works in particular.”

The latest Construction and Infrastructure Market Survey from RICS and Tughans solicitors, has displayed a net balance of 58% of Northern Irish surveyors recording a rise in workloads in private housing activity in the second quarter of 2019, the highest rate that the region has experienced since 1999.

The NHBC Regional Director for Northern Ireland & Isle of Man, Padraig Venney stated: “2018 was a very positive year for the industry in Northern Ireland. House prices have grown at the highest rate in the UK at approximately 6% showing that there is a real confidence within the sector and those people looking to buy a new, quality home.

“Belfast and the surrounding commuter belt continue to be an in-demand region and we have also seen an upturn in housing association activity over the course of the year.”

Tughans’ Head of Real Estate, David Jones added: “Undoubtedly, one of the main external factors affecting the construction sector is the current political landscape.

“Projects and works that require the allocation of funding cannot be progressed, and the situation has a knock-on effect on other areas, leading to increased caution when it comes to investment decisions.”

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