‘Negative publicity doesn’t help’ the housing market

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A GLENGORMLEY estate agent has hit out at the negative publicity surrounding the property market.

The Land & Property Services index, which is based on stamp duty information on sales, shows property prices dropped by 11 per cent over the past 12 months.

However, the index also showed that the number of transactions averaged around 3,000 for each quarter in the past year and increased in the last quarter.

Glengormley estate agent, Jim McMillan said: “These reports seem to be coming thick and fast and the negative press reports that inevitably follow don’t help.

“It is a difficult and challenging time, but transaction levels are the same as they were last year and I think people are wise to all these reports.

“There is good value to be had, but equally there is still good competition in the market. We recently sold a property for more than the asking price, because it was in demand and sparked a bidding war.”

He added: “With the other side of our business as chartered surveyors we do see that there is good value out there, but the lending institutions still put a number of hurdles in the way, which do frustrate the market to some degree.”

Gareth Millar, principal at Millar Sales and Letting said renting was becoming much more popular.

He added: “People are needing the flexibility of a short term rental agreement because their own work situation might be changing over time.

“We have the likes of doctors coming to us who need to move around the place and do not want to be tied into mortgages.

“Plus with renting people can maybe get themselves into an area that they may not be able to afford to buy.

“Renting is a more popular option. The one piece of advice that I would have though is for anyone to make sure they rent from a regulated agent.

“This way when something goes wrong, it is just a call to the agent and it is sorted and you don’t have to deal with landlords.”

Northern Bank chief economist, Angela McGowan said: “Prices are now sitting at pre-bubble levels which can only be good for potential house buyers.

“And with transaction levels actually rising in the second quarter of 2012 this indicates that there is a degree of confidence returning to the local market.”