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Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

Latest NI Housing Bulletin shows large increase in those presenting as homeless

The Department for Communities has released the Northern Ireland Housing Bulletin for January – March 2017. The Bulletin demonstrates ongoing trends in several current policy issues, such as homelessness, housing supply and house prices.

Homelessness

5,242 households presented as homeless to the Housing Executive in this quarter; this is an increase of 39.7% from the previous quarter. The number of households accepted as “Full Duty Applicant” homeless was 3,221 – an increase of 34.7% from the previous quarter. The most common reasons for presenting, and being accepted as homeless remained the same: “current accommodation not being reasonable”, and a “sharing breakdown/family dispute.

Housing supply

The statistical bulletin contains details on housing starts and completions from both Building Control and the Social Housing Development Programme (SHDP).  The way in which starts are categorised for these sets of figures differ.  Building control will set the date of a new dwelling start at the point on which the first building control inspection is carried out, while SHDP will date a new dwelling start on the date on which paperwork confirms that the site is in ownership of the housing association, that planning permission has been granted and that a date has been confirmed for a contractor to take possession of the site. 

Building control recorded 1,883 new dwelling starts between January and March 2017; 1,669 in the private sector and 184 in the social sector. Building control also recorded 245 new dwelling completions in the social sector during this period, with completion date set as the date of the final building control inspection. 

The SHDP recorded 1,221 social housing starts between January and March 2017 and 428 social dwelling completions, 403 of which were self-contained accommodation with the remaining 25 being shared units. 62.4% of these completions were new-build dwellings. 

House prices

The average Northern Ireland house price in this quarter was £124,007. This is a marginal decrease of 0.8% from the previous quarter, but house prices have risen 4.3% in the last year.

The Bulletin shows that house prices have been steadily rising in Northern Ireland since winter 2013. However, prices remain significantly below their pre-crisis peak of £224,670. This means that there is still a significant tranche of Northern Irish home-owners in substantial negative equity. It is also likely that repossession actions will begin to increase significantly, having been stalled in the wake of an FCA review into “double-billing” practices originally raised by Housing Rights.

Homeowners who are facing Court action, in mortgage arrears or just struggling to keep up their payments should contact our Housing Rights helpline for advice by phoning 028 9024 5640; visiting our advice website housingadviceNI; or chatting to an adviser online.

Tagged In

Research, Homelessness