Northern Ireland is still particularly difficult for first time buyers to get on the property investment ladder, due to property prices remaining too high for them to purchase.
Outside London, the province is the least affordable part of the UK to get on the property ladder and this is despite huge falls in the price of homes, according to a comprehensive survey.
The Halifax research shows how overvalued properties in Northern Ireland were during the 2007 peak. But even with property investment prices falling by more than 40 per cent in the province since then, it has still not brought prices into a range relative to incomes.
According to the Halifax property prices in 2010 remained too high in Northern Ireland, where average wages are amongst the lowest in the UK. Along with London, the province was the only region where houses were still out of reach for first-time buyers in the local authority areas within the region.
Of Northern Ireland’s 26 and London’s 30 local authority councils, all 56 were found to be too expensive. In the North East of England however, which is the most affordable region, homes were affordable for FTBs in 83 per cent of its various local authority areas.
In other parts of the UK, 40 per cent of local authority districts were affordable to the average FTB, compared to 2007 when a mere six per cent of council areas across the UK were classed as affordable.
Because its house prices are the highest in the UK, London‘s property is still out of reach, despite having the highest average incomes in the UK.
Even though average house price paid by first-time buyers in Northern Ireland fell from £122,422 in 2009 to £112,971 last year, FTBs there paid more than those in the East Midlands, Scotland, the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber and Wales. In the North East for instance, FTBs on paid on average £97,160.
Speaking on the improved affordability position in much of Great Britain, Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: "The 'noughties' were a difficult period for many looking to get onto the property ladder. The substantial rise in house prices over much of the decade prevented many potential first-time buyers from entering the market, however, affordability has improved significantly over the past three years."
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