Average Derry house price now stands at £120,594

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The average house price in Derry now stands at £120,594 it’s been revealed.

Figures released on Friday on behalf of University of Ulster, Bank of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive say the figure has risen slightly due to the improved performance in semi-detached houses.

The number of house sales in The North continued to show a rise in the final quarter of 2011 although prices were generally still falling, according to the comprehensive residential property survey.

The report showed the number of transactions in the fourth quarter of 2011 – October, November and December - was 960 compared with 684 sales in the same quarter in 2010.

The report’s authors - Professor Alastair Adair, Professor Stanley McGreal and Dr David McIlhatton - said: “The Northern Ireland housing market has closed the year in much the same way as it started. Although the market is showing some tentative signs of stabilisation, it is still rather thin in terms of transaction levels with average prices tending to be lower rather than higher.

“This survey shows that recovery in the Northern Ireland housing market is still not deeply embedded and remains vulnerable to economic circumstances and to the seasonal vagaries of the market which become more apparent during periods of thin market conditions.”

Alan Bridle, UK Economist at Bank of Ireland UK, said: “This year offers more of the same pattern as many households continue to face economic and financial headwinds that will inevitably constrain demand for house purchase and house finance. The prospects for higher activity levels look brighter for spring and summer, in line with seasonal trends.”

The Housing Executive’s Head of Research, Joe Frey, said: “New research confirms that the private rented sector is continuing to expand and play an ever bigger role in meeting the accommodation needs of a growing number of potential first time buyers and households on low incomes.”

There is a growing concern among housing professionals that the changes to the Housing Benefit system currently being introduced on a rolling basis could seriously undermine this role at a time when resources for new social housing are being reduced”.

The survey, which covered some 115 firms of estate agents, showed that 35% of properties sold at or below £100,000 compared to 29% in the previous survey, while more than two-thirds of properties (68%) sold at or below £150,000, highlighting the lower price structure in the market.