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First Time Buyer in Belfast


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Hi all, 

What's going on with the market? Seems to be really picking up, most properties around Belfast are Sale Agreed within three weeks. I'm looking to buy with my BF, three bed semi. We've looked Four Winds, Finaghy, Rosetta, Knockbracken Road ect. Asking prices usually 190-219k but going sale agreed closer to 230-250k. Alot of my friends are getting turnkeys as it's the only way they can get on the property ladder (ie. no bidding war). The only new development we considered was Castlehill,  which is now in it's third phase but I don't like the idea of turning right out of it every morning! 

So far only offered on one property in Finaghy. Bidding war lasted a few days and I called in and asked to see all the bids (great tip I got from this forum, so thankyou) . Our last bid was £225,000 EA said other bidder had offered £230,000 and we wished them luck in their new home lol. EA then rang back to say that they had decreased to £228,000? Is this normal or was the EA lying about the £230,000 bid hoping we'd offer more? Honestly, haven't bought my first home yet and feel that I have to second guess everything lol!!

Basically, are we better to look at properties around £170,000 to factor in our £225,000 limit? 

Viewed property today in Upper Malone, EA really illusive about the seller and history of the property. I have a really vivid imagination and managed to convince myself during the viewing that they must be selling because they've had to go into witness protection. Asking price is around £193,000 which I think is overpriced because the house seems cold and the garden is waterlogged. Seemed to be damp on bathroom ceiling that had been painted over. Location must be everything though because about 40 viewings and only on the market for three days. EA said he was going to wait and see what bids came in before arranging any second viewings. Am I being too cautious, or is it not mad to make an offer after one viewing? Spoke to next door neighbour, she bought four years ago for £166,000. 

 

 

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I'm also looking to buy at the minute along with my other half. We are trading up from a 3 bedroom semi that we will be putting on the market soon, we have been bidding on detached houses between 300-400k.

My findings

I don't want to sound pompous and I know that 300k + is a lot for a house in Belfast, but I can't believe had bad the houses are that are on sale in this price bracket (300k + 400k), some are terrible! Worst of all are the fixer-upper projects, a complete rip-off, far worse value than something in decent condition. A house that would be 300k in decent condition but needs 50k worth of work (and most need much more than this) should be at least 70k less that the price of a decent one (230k), but they are up for 20k less (280k), and the worse thing is that people are buying them! 

New builds also seem wildly over priced (about 25% more than something of similar quality in the same area that's 10+ years old), I agree they are a little more convenient than older houses, but they tend to be small and have no gardens. Also I've heard from a friend who bought a new build recently that it's a lot of hassle getting the place beyond teething problems, such as unreliable and poorly designed plumbing, heating and electric amenities. They have also had settlement cracks appear, but have been told not to fix them as they will likely get worse over the next couple of years.

However in the past 6 months I have noticed a little sanity creeping into the market, most of the overpriced crap is sitting on the market month after month, and some sellers are reducing their prices at least a little. I have talked to a few estate agents and once you get past the inevitable BS and sales pitch they kind of agree that above 300k is a little bit of a hard sale, although certain areas will sell quickly irrespective of quality, the 200k market seems to be booming,  especially in desirable areas.

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Good luck with your house hunt and selling your property! I agree that the 300-400k bracket seem to sit a little longer on the market. 200k in decent location seems to be sale agreed within a week (maybe this will be good for your house sale :) ). 
 

The new builds I find have very limited storage and no room around them. As you say they seem very overpriced compared to older similar properties in the area. New development close to finaghy 3 bed semi detached starting at £280k (seem slightly bigger in sq footage but not much!). I think people are paying a premium for the convenience.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Last year the NI market was somewhat subdued due mainly to the uncertainly around Brexit etc. Whilst I am not claiming that the election of Borris should settle anyones anexity over the impact of Brexit it did calm the market and both sales and prices have increased since. This will not show up until the next NIRPPI Report.

The arrival of Cronavirus may have a bigger impact on the market. We simply don't know if it will be as bad as Italy or if there is any reason it shouldnt be.

I imagine there will be more important things to worry about in the coming weeks and months than House Prices. 

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Things are very uncertain since my original post in-terms of coronavirus. Feb 20th seems along time ago. Two weeks ago Italy only had a handful of cases.
 

I was looking at wedding insurance yesterday and had a quote of £60 (included cover for cancellation due to  infectious disease) today the same website are suspending new insurance applications while they assess the impact.  
 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Me again, 

 

Sale agreed on a property before lockdown. Would it be mad to proceed? Understandbly there are no surveys, land registry is also manual in NI so we couldn't complete even as we are not cash buyers. Mortgage departments have moved staff to deal with payment holiday requests ect.

Pull out of transation or wait it out? A few EA have contacted us to ask if we are still interested in properties we had previously been outbid on.

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34 minutes ago, CMC said:

Me again, 

 

Sale agreed on a property before lockdown. Would it be mad to proceed? Understandbly there are no surveys, land registry is also manual in NI so we couldn't complete even as we are not cash buyers. Mortgage departments have moved staff to deal with payment holiday requests ect.

Pull out of transation or wait it out? A few EA have contacted us to ask if we are still interested in properties we had previously been outbid on.

Taking off my HPC hat and looking at this from a normal person POV. I think anyone would be absolutely mental to consider going through with a house purchase in the short to medium term. 

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Yea,  you are all right, you're being the voice of reason! I don't know why I am holding out..

 

 I think we're going to see if the seller would consider 15% under the orginal asking price. They might not go for it and we can pull out see what the property market is like after the dust settles. 

Or maybe just walk away, wait and find somewhere else.

 

I think because of lockdown (a potential second wave ect.) we are quite cramped, living with family it would be nice to have our own space. But have to be sensible! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, CMC said:

Yea,  you are all right, you're being the voice of reason! I don't know why I am holding out..

 

 I think we're going to see if the seller would consider 15% under the orginal asking price. They might not go for it and we can pull out see what the property market is like after the dust settles. 

Or maybe just walk away, wait and find somewhere else.

 

I think because of lockdown (a potential second wave ect.) we are quite cramped, living with family it would be nice to have our own space. But have to be sensible! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you're renting, now is as good a time as any to go for a rent reduction. 12 week wait for eviction and an abundance of property up for rent. 

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Yea perhaps 20% would be safer. If I was the seller it would be very hard to accept that big a price drop. I'm not sure of his circumstances. Alot of sellers might just stay put until the market picks up again. 

 

No, not currently renting our lease ended 5 months ago and we moved to our seperate homes to get the last of the deposit together. Now we are locked down in our childhood bedrooms 80miles apart. Weird times lol..

On the possitive side though this will be the last time I get to spend in my family home and my contribution of the bills is really only a drop in the ocean compared to what they should be!

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Look no one had a crystal ball but it’s not looking good, there will be no cruise ships in Belfast this year, bombardier will not be making much, farm prices are down, cafes pubs restaurants will have a bad year, flights will be down.  IT in Belfast and the Public sector will be fine but that can’t operate alone.  Consider all the edjits with empty Airbnb property!!   So I have a mix of redundancy and lack of demand.  It’s possible staycationing will help next year so it’s not all doom and gloom.  

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19 hours ago, CMC said:

No, not currently renting our lease ended 5 months ago and we moved to our seperate homes to get the last of the deposit together. Now we are locked down in our childhood bedrooms 80miles apart. Weird times lol..

This may be more about timing than price i.e. 20% off current prices might look expensive in 2 years time.

In 2013 house prices stopped falling. This coincided with a drop in unemployment. It would take a 30% fall to bring prices back to those levels. However, unemployment will be much, much higher this time. So house prices might fall below the 2013 level.

There is so much uncertainty at the moment. It is too soon to know the economic impact of the lockdown. If it was me I would rent for 6-12months then look at the market again. It is highly unlikely that house prices will go up in that year. By this time next year it should be obvious which direction the housing market is going.

22 hours ago, 2buyornot2buy said:

Taking off my HPC hat and looking at this from a normal person POV. I think anyone would be absolutely mental to consider going through with a house purchase in the short to medium term. 

Is that you with the HPC hat off? :huh::P I agree.

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22 minutes ago, Belfast Boy said:

This may be more about timing than price i.e. 20% off current prices might look expensive in 2 years time.

In 2013 house prices stopped falling. This coincided with a drop in unemployment. It would take a 30% fall to bring prices back to those levels. However, unemployment will be much, much higher this time. So house prices might fall below the 2013 level.

There is so much uncertainty at the moment. It is too soon to know the economic impact of the lockdown. If it was me I would rent for 6-12months then look at the market again. It is highly unlikely that house prices will go up in that year. By this time next year it should be obvious which direction the housing market is going.

Is that you with the HPC hat off? :huh::P I agree.

? I think what I meant was, looking at the fundamentals NI is overvalued ( OP saying 230-250k for a semi in Four Winds) add in covid it would be absolutely mental to buy one of those houses now full stop. Too much uncertainty. 

I did notice propertypal have doubled down saying they expect a massive drop in GDP, then a very quick recovery.

House prices to recover within 12 months. I probably need more hats than de bono. 

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4 hours ago, Belfast Boy said:

This may be more about timing than price i.e. 20% off current prices might look expensive in 2 years time.

In 2013 house prices stopped falling. This coincided with a drop in unemployment. It would take a 30% fall to bring prices back to those levels. However, unemployment will be much, much higher this time. So house prices might fall below the 2013 level.

There is so much uncertainty at the moment. It is too soon to know the economic impact of the lockdown. If it was me I would rent for 6-12months then look at the market again. It is highly unlikely that house prices will go up in that year. By this time next year it should be obvious which direction the housing market is going.

Is that you with the HPC hat off? :huh::P I agree.

Yea seems sensible! Hopefully get reduced rent and see how the property market looks when the dust settles. 
 

 


 

 

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8 hours ago, 2buyornot2buy said:

I did notice propertypal have doubled down saying they expect a massive drop in GDP, then a very quick recovery.

?

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1 hour ago, pod said:

?

Were you furloughed from HPC too ?... or have you been here since the last crash ?

Nice to see some of the old posters posting.

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39 minutes ago, headmelter said:

Were you furloughed from HPC too ?... or have you been here since the last crash ?

Nice to see some of the old posters posting.

I've only popped in recently. Once the crash happened, I didn't need to hang out here anymore.

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10 hours ago, pod said:

I've only popped in recently. Once the crash happened, I didn't need to hang out here anymore.

I would have done the occasional 'fly by' predominantly to the investment section & gold thread but would have popped in here to be nosey periodically. For a while I thought the market was returning to 'normality' but certain areas seemed to be developing a bit of a frothy feel.

I'll probably be looking to move in 3-4 years if I can avoid the cemetery....Pray tell what is the cause of your return ?

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43 minutes ago, headmelter said:

Pray tell what is the cause of your return ?

Just due to the "interesting" times we're currently in. Was interested in what is being said here as those here were always less likely to simply digest the "spin".

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13 minutes ago, pod said:

Just due to the "interesting" times we're currently in. Was interested in what is being said here as those here were always less likely to simply digest the "spin".

We're all going to be skint for an extended period of time.... with the Tories in govt for 5 years I'm expecting austerity on steroids & continued money printing when the dust of the pandemic settles... I do expect a considerable houseprice correction UK wide but especially in London.

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10 minutes ago, headmelter said:

We're all going to be skint for an extended period of time.... with the Tories in govt for 5 years I'm expecting austerity on steroids & continued money printing when the dust of the pandemic settles... I do expect a considerable houseprice correction UK wide but especially in London.

Agreed on all points.

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  • 419 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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