Perhaps If we called Mr and Mrs Average "The Squeezed Middle" (as the policy makers are fond of doing) it might help to smooth/narrow the areas for discussion.
I think it is widely acknowledged the cost of living in NI is higher (car insurance!), wages are lower, health is poorer - probably die younger too than the UK average. Little competition in electricity (especially annoying for businesses), high personal dependence on heating oil (something like 60% in NI against 30% UK average).
Living in Northern Ireland is bad for your long-term health
We are all aware of the "not available in NI" offers or free UK delivery EXCEPT...........
One of IDB's (now INI) main plank for promoting Foreign Direct Investment, not that long ago, was that NI was a low wage economy. They thought this was brilliant, and chimed with the type of businesses they wanted to attract ie call centres. Short sighted to say the least. This aspect is now subsumed in the term "competitive cost base" once Selective Financial Assistance (what we call a grant) has been factored in. Though, sadly, their 'pipe' is now blocked. Dripping but not flowing.
They'll have a harder sell when Continental pull out of Belfast 'international' Airport due to crippling Airport Passenger Duty
I think I recall people saying before the housing boom " ahh yes it's dearer there but housing costs are low" as a sort of mitigation for business. That time has long since passed. High(er) rents and housing costs must act as a powerful disincentive for investors at the best of times, but especially when most other things (except wages) are also higher. Which is where the grants, and the level of grants comes in.
You'ld think Sammy would be happy to see a cost base reducing - I don't detect any establishment enthusiasm for lower house prices/housing costs (except everyone loves cheap mortgages).
As for a highly educated workforce and leading by example, well our Deputy First Minister (ex Education Minister) has little by the way of educational qualifications and our First Minister was an Estate Agent - both with chequered backgrounds.
Just goes to show, though - we voted for them!
Anyway, I don't think NI house prices are going to rise anytime soon.