Covid-19 causing NI housing market uncertainty

Covid-19 has created uncertainty in Northern Ireland’s housing market, surveyors said.

Banks said they would monitor the impact of the coronavirus on mortgage owners.

Demand remains positive and prices continue to rise but at a slower rate, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said.

Samuel Dickey, Rics residential property spokesman in Northern Ireland, said: “The past couple of months have seen a clear improvement in sentiment in the Northern Ireland housing market, leading to more listings, more viewings and more sales.

“Surveyors remain positive about the outlook as well; however it remains to be seen how the coronavirus situation develops and what impact that has on viewings and activity in the short-term.

“Surveyors’ long-term expectations for prices and sales activity remain strong.”

Concerns have been raised within the property industry about the potential impact of coronavirus, which although yet unknown could adversely affect viewings and the traditional spring house selling season across the UK.

Terry Robb, head of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said: “We are active in the mortgage market at present supporting a wide range of borrowers including homebuyers, builders, movers and remortgagers to understand their mortgage options.

“We will also monitor the potential impact of coronavirus on mortgage customers and have a range of standard forbearance options potentially available to assist any customers in financial difficulty.”

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