e.surv predicts NI price rises

Amanda Jarvis

April 24, 2006

There was a time when you could get permission to build a house virtually anywhere you wanted to in Northern Ireland, but a recent rule change means this is unlikely to be the situation for very much longer in the countryside.

The change in planning guidance has come about as resistance has grown against ‘random’ developments in the countryside, which have been a characteristic of the NI landscape.

The result of this restriction on building permission in rural areas will serve to push up house prices not only in the cities, but also in the countryside, according to Steve Hinds, regional surveyor for e.surv.

He said: “Potentially then, this rule change could result in significant changes in the market, as the expectation is that it will push up values of urban land, increasing saleability of popular suburban locations.”

Currently, people are three times more likely to have a dwelling in a rural area approved in Northern Ireland than in England, Scotland and Wales, claims the DRD, with around 9,500 applications passed last year. Forecasts for the following year suggest that this figure could rise to 12,000 – the equivalent of a town the size of Ballymena springing up each year.

The DRD seem keen to promote development within existing towns and cities. Steve Hinds expects to see values of existing rural and urban dwellings leap due to the new pressure, with a potential related effect on development land contained within villages and towns, which should see increases in value as more developers compete for the remaining land.

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