Average house price in LIsburn £143,170

THE AVERAGE price of a house in Lisburn is now £143,170 according to figures released this week.

The quarterly survey carried out bu the University of Ulster, Bank of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive shows the overall average sale price across the city has declined by 13.5% in the past year.

But there are significant variations within that with semi-detached houses going up in value by 25.1% to 159,945 while all other sectors have declined with terraced/townhouses down 2.9% to 151,897; apartments down 21.5% to 106,648 and detached houses down 16% to 179,992.

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The figures mirror those for the rest of Northern Ireland with the average house price falling below 150,000 for the first time in nearly five years.

In Belfast the average price of housing fell by 21.7% over the year to 138,131 with all property types showing declines.

The highest priced city location was south Belfast where the average fell sharply to 183,560, followed by the east (174,459), west (125,096) and north (97,293).

The Quarterly House Price Index covered the third quarter of 2010 and put the average overall price at 148,243 - a weighted rate of annual decline of 7.6%.

The survey suggested that the tentative recovery in house prices in the first half of this year had been put on hold, or even reversed.

The authors of the report - Professor Alastair Adair, Professor Stanley McGreal and Dr David McIlhatton - said: "The significant fall in house prices stems from a current lack of confidence in the market possibly reflecting concerns about public spending cuts and their impact on jobs in a region highly dependent on public sector employment."

The price statistics are based on 795 transactions in the third quarter of 2010, a figure well down on the second quarter volume of 1009 transactions.

Alan Bridle, UK Economist with the Bank of Ireland, said: "With the average price below 150,000 for the first time since the last quarter of 2005, it is clear the residential market is still facing a number of challenges.

"Potential buyers remain discouraged by uncertainty over economic prospects and in terms of supply there is no shortage of houses available to buy or to rent.

"A particular theme of this survey is that the previously resilient market in Belfast has been less strong in the third quarter - and turnover of properties remains weak by historic standards."

The survey indicated the market is becoming increasingly affordable, with more than a quarter of houses selling at or below 100,000. Collectively, nearly two thirds of the total sold at 150,000 or below.

The Housing Executive's Head of Research, Joe Frey, commented: "Given the fragility of Northern Ireland's economy and the imminent cuts in public expenditure, it is little wonder that the housing market is turning down again.

"However, despite the resultant lower house prices, affordability will remain a difficult issue for first time buyers for as long as banks and building societies continue to allocate mortgages on the basis of very restrictive lending criteria."